30 September 2013

Thought of the day

While Divine Mercy Sunday is certainly a good day to canonize....I'm afraid that too much cult of personality for JPII really over pushed this canonization.

25 September 2013

Thought of the day

Love is worth all that is given...

The rest of the interview

A Religious Order Pope

Pope Francis is the first pontiff from a religious order since the Camaldolese monk Gregory XVI, who was elected in 1831. I ask: “What is the specific place of religious men and women in the church of today?”
“Religious men and women are prophets,” says the pope. “They are those who have chosen a following of Jesus that imitates his life in obedience to the Father, poverty, community life and chastity (Indeed, so, but not all of us are called to that state in life). In this sense, the vows cannot end up being caricatures; otherwise, for example, community life becomes hell (get it right, it's purgatory...the introverts...(sorry Pope Francis, I am not an extrovert)...often feel that community life is like purgatory on earth...and in many respects it was for me when I lived religious life...people are not my number one method of outsource), and chastity becomes a way of life for unfruitful bachelors. The vow of chastity must be a vow of fruitfulness. In the church, the religious are called to be prophets in particular by demonstrating how Jesus lived on this earth (Amen), and to proclaim how the kingdom of God will be in its perfection. A religious must never give up prophecy. This does not mean opposing the hierarchical part of the church, although the prophetic function and the hierarchical structure do not coincide (Like St Catherine calling the Pope back to Rome, or St Joan of Arc in dealing with the authorities of the day). I am talking about a proposal that is always positive, but it should not cause timidity. Let us think about what so many great saints, monks and religious men and women have done, from St. Anthony the Abbot onward. Being prophets may sometimes imply making waves. I do not know how to put it (lio).... Prophecy makes noise, uproar, some say ‘a mess.’ But in reality, the charism of religious people is like yeast: prophecy announces the spirit of the Gospel.”
The Roman Curia

The Roman Curia

I ask the pope what he thinks of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the various departments that assist the pope in his mission.
It is amazing to see the denunciations for lack of orthodoxy that come to Rome Ithink the cases should be investigated by the local bishops’ conferences, which can get valuable assistance from Rome. These cases, in fact, are much better dealt with locally.“The dicasteries of the Roman Curia are at the service of the pope and the bishops,” he says. “They must help both the particular churches and the bishops’ conferences(God save us from more power for the USCCB) however, when they are not functioning well, they run the risk of becoming institutions of censorship. It is amazing to see the denunciations for lack of orthodoxy that come to Rome. I think the cases should be investigated by the local bishops’ conferences, which can get valuable assistance from Rome. These cases, in fact, are much better dealt with locally. The Roman congregations are mediators; they are not middlemen or managers.”
On June 29, during the ceremony of the blessing and imposition of the pallium on 34 metropolitan archbishops, Pope Francis spoke about “the path of collegiality” as the road that can lead the church to “grow in harmony with the service of primacy.” So I ask: “How can we reconcile in harmony Petrine primacy and collegiality? Which roads are feasible also from an ecumenical perspective?”
The pope responds, “We must walk together: the people, the bishops and the pope. Synodality should be lived at various levels. Maybe it is time to change the methods of the Synod of Bishops, because it seems to me that the current method is not dynamic. This will also have ecumenical value, especially with our Orthodox brethren. From them we can learn more about the meaning of episcopal collegiality and the tradition of synodality. The joint effort of reflection, looking at how the church was governed in the early centuries, before the breakup between East and West, will bear fruit in due time. In ecumenical relations it is important not only to know each other better, but also to recognize what the Spirit has sown in the other as a gift for us. I want to continue the discussion that was begun in 2007 by the joint [Catholic–Orthodox] commission on how to exercise the Petrine primacy, which led to the signing of the Ravenna Document. We must continue on this path.”
I ask how Pope Francis envisions the future unity of the church in light of this response. He answers: “We must walk united with our differences: there is no other way to become one. This is the way of Jesus.”

Women in the Life of the Church

And what about the role of women in the church? The pope has made ​​reference to this issue on several occasions. He took up the matter during the return trip from Rio de Janeiro, claiming that the church still lacks a profound theology of women. I ask: “What should be the role of women in the church? How do we make their role more visible today?”
We must therefore investigate further the role of women in the church.*He answers: “It is necessary to broaden the opportunities for a stronger presence of women in the church. I am wary of a solution that can be reduced to a kind of ‘female machismo,’ because a woman has a different make-up than a man. But what I hear about the role of women is often inspired by an ideology of machismo. Women are asking deep questions that must be addressed. The church cannot be herself without the woman and her role. The woman is essential for the church. Mary, a woman, is more important than the bishops. I say this because we must not confuse the function with the dignity. We must therefore investigate further the role of women in the church. We have to work harder to develop a profound theology of the woman. Only by making this step will it be possible to better reflect on their function within the church. The feminine genius is needed wherever we make important decisions. The challenge today is this: to think about the specific place of women also in those places where the authority of the church is exercised for various areas of the church.”

The Second Vatican Council

“What did ​​the Second Vatican Council accomplish?” I ask.
“Vatican II was a re-reading of the Gospel in light of contemporary culture,” says the pope. “Vatican II produced a renewal movement that simply comes from the same Gospel. Its fruits are enormous. Just recall the liturgy. The work of liturgical reform has been a service to the people as a re-reading of the Gospel from a concrete historical situation. Yes, there are hermeneutics of continuity and discontinuity, but one thing is clear: the dynamic of reading the Gospel, actualizing its message for today—which was typical of Vatican II—is absolutely irreversible. Then there are particular issues, like the liturgy according to the Vetus Ordo. I think the decision of Pope Benedict [his decision of July 7, 2007, to allow a wider use of the Tridentine Mass] was prudent and motivated by the desire to help people who have this sensitivity. What is worrying, though, is the risk of the ideologization of the Vetus Ordo, its exploitation.”

To Seek and Find God in All Things

At the World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, Pope Francis repeatedly declared: “God is real. He manifests himself today. God is everywhere.” These are phrases that echo the Ignatian expression “to seek and find God in all things.” So I ask the pope: “How do you seek and find God in all things?”
“What I said in Rio referred to the time in which we seek God,” he answers. “In fact, there is a temptation to seek God in the past or in a possible future. God is certainly in the past because we can see the footprints. And God is also in the future as a promise. But the ‘concrete’ God, so to speak, is today. For this reason, complaining never helps us find God. The complaints of today about how ‘barbaric’ the world is—these complaints sometimes end up giving birth within the church to desires to establish order in the sense of pure conservation, as a defense. No: God is to be encountered in the world of today.
“God manifests himself in historical revelation, in history. Time initiates processes, and space crystallizes them. God is in history, in the processes.
“We must not focus on occupying the spaces where power is exercised, but rather on starting long-run historical processes. We must initiate processes rather than occupy spaces. God manifests himself in time and is present in the processes of history. This gives priority to actions that give birth to new historical dynamics. And it requires patience, waiting.
“Finding God in all things is not an ‘empirical eureka.’ When we desire to encounter God, we would like to verify him immediately by an empirical method. But you cannot meet God this way. God is found in the gentle breeze perceived by Elijah. The senses that find God are the ones St. Ignatius called spiritual senses. Ignatius asks us to open our spiritual sensitivity to encounter God beyond a purely empirical approach. A contemplative attitude is necessary: it is the feeling that you are moving along the good path of understanding and affection toward things and situations. Profound peace, spiritual consolation, love of God and love of all things in God—this is the sign that you are on this right path.”

Certitude and Mistakes

I ask, “So if the encounter with God is not an ‘empirical eureka,’ and if it is a journey that sees with the eyes of history, then we can also make mistakes?”
The pope replies: “Yes, in this quest to seek and find God in all things there is still an area of uncertainty. There must be. If a person says that he met God with total certainty and is not touched by a margin of uncertainty, then this is not good. For me, this is an important key. If one has the answers to all the questions—that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble. Uncertainty is in every true discernment that is open to finding confirmation in spiritual consolation.
“The risk in seeking and finding God in all things, then, is the willingness to explain too much, to say with human certainty and arrogance: ‘God is here.’ We will find only a god that fits our measure. The correct attitude is that of St. Augustine: seek God to find him, and find God to keep searching for God forever. Often we seek as if we were blind, as one often reads in the Bible. And this is the experience of the great fathers of the faith, who are our models. We have to re-read the Letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 11. Abraham leaves his home without knowing where he was going, by faith. All of our ancestors in the faith died seeing the good that was promised, but from a distance.... Our life is not given to us like an opera libretto, in which all is written down; but it means going, walking, doing, searching, seeing.... We must enter into the adventure of the quest for meeting God; we must let God search and encounter us.
“Because God is first; God is always first and makes the first move. God is a bit like the almond flower of your Sicily, Antonio, which always blooms first. We read it in the Prophets. God is encountered walking, along the path. At this juncture, someone might say that this is relativism. Is it relativism? Yes, if it is misunderstood as a kind of indistinct pantheism. It is not relativism if it is understood in the biblical sense, that God is always a surprise, so you never know where and how you will find him. You are not setting the time and place of the encounter with him. You must, therefore, discern the encounter. Discernment is essential.
If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing.If the Christian is a restorationist, a legalist, if he wants everything clear and safe, then he will find nothing. Tradition and memory of the past must help us to have the courage to open up new areas to God. Those who today always look for disciplinarian solutions, those who long for an exaggerated doctrinal ‘security,’ those who stubbornly try to recover a past that no longer exists­—they have a static and inward-directed view of things. In this way, faith becomes an ideology among other ideologies. I have a dogmatic certainty: God is in every person’s life. God is in everyone’s life. Even if the life of a person has been a disaster, even if it is destroyed by vices, drugs or anything else—God is in this person’s life. You can, you must try to seek God in every human life. Although the life of a person is a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”

Must We Be Optimistic?

The pope’s words remind me of some of his past reflections, in which as a cardinal he wrote that God is already living in the city, in the midst of all and united to each. It is another way, in my opinion, to say what St. Ignatius wrote in the Spiritual Exercises, that God “labors and works” in our world. So I ask: “Do we have to be optimistic? What are the signs of hope in today’s world? How can I be optimistic in a world in crisis?”
“I do not like to use the word optimism because that is about a psychological attitude,” the pope says. “I like to use the word hope instead, according to what we read in the Letter to the Hebrews, Chapter 11, that I mentioned before. The fathers of the faith kept walking, facing difficulties. And hope does not disappoint, as we read in the Letter to the Romans. Think instead of the first riddle of Puccini’s opera ‘Turandot,’” the pope suggests.
At that moment I recalled more or less by heart the verses of the riddle of the princess in that opera, to which the solution is hope: “In the gloomy night flies an iridescent ghost./ It rises and opens its wings/ on the infinite black humanity./ The whole world invokes it/ and the whole world implores it./ But the ghost disappears with the dawn/ to be reborn in the heart./ And every night it is born/ and every day it dies!”
“See,” says Pope Francis, “Christian hope is not a ghost and it does not deceive. It is a theological virtue and therefore, ultimately, a gift from God that cannot be reduced to optimism, which is only human. God does not mislead hope; God cannot deny himself. God is all promise.”

Art and Creativity

I am struck by the reference the pope just made to Puccini’s “Turandot” while speaking of the mystery of hope. I would like to understand better his artistic and literary references. I remind him that in 2006 he said that great artists know how to present the tragic and painful realities of life with beauty. So I ask who are the artists and writers he prefers, and if they have something in common.
“I have really loved a diverse array of authors. I love very much Dostoevsky and Hölderlin. I remember Hölderlin for that poem written for the birthday of his grandmother that is very beautiful and was spiritually very enriching for me. The poem ends with the verse, ‘May the man hold fast to what the child has promised.’ I was also impressed because I loved my grandmother Rosa, and in that poem Hölderlin compares his grandmother to the Virgin Mary, who gave birth to Jesus, the friend of the earth who did not consider anybody a foreigner.
“I have read The Betrothed, by Alessandro Manzoni, three times, and I have it now on my table because I want to read it again. Manzoni gave me so much. When I was a child, my grandmother taught me by heart the beginning of The Betrothed: ‘That branch of Lake Como that turns off to the south between two unbroken chains of mountains....’ I also liked Gerard Manley Hopkins very much.
“Among the great painters, I admire Caravaggio; his paintings speak to me. But also Chagall, with his ‘White Crucifixion.’ Among musicians I love Mozart, of course. The ‘Et incarnatus est’ from his Mass in C minor is matchless; it lifts you to God! I love Mozart performed by Clara Haskil. Mozart fulfills me. But I cannot think about his music; I have to listen to it. I like listening to Beethoven, but in a Promethean way, and the most Promethean interpreter for me is Furtwängler. And then Bach’s Passions. The piece by Bach that I love so much is the ‘Erbarme Dich,’ the tears of Peter in the ‘St. Matthew Passion.’ Sublime. Then, at a different level, not intimate in the same way, I love Wagner. I like to listen to him, but not all the time. The performance of Wagner’s ‘Ring’ by Furtwängler at La Scala in Milan in 1950 is for me the best. But also the ‘Parsifal’ by Knappertsbusch in 1962.
“We should also talk about the cinema. ‘La Strada,’ by Fellini, is the movie that perhaps I loved the most. I identify with this movie, in which there is an implicit reference to St. Francis. I also believe that I watched all of the Italian movies with Anna Magnani and Aldo Fabrizi when I was between 10 and 12 years old. Another film that I loved is ‘Rome, Open City.’ I owe my film culture especially to my parents who used to take us to the movies quite often.
“Anyway, in general I love tragic artists, especially classical ones. There is a nice definition that Cervantes puts on the lips of the bachelor Carrasco to praise the story of Don Quixote: ‘Children have it in their hands, young people read it, adults understand it, the elderly praise it.’ For me this can be a good definition of the classics.”
I ask the pope about teaching literature to his secondary school students.
“It was a bit risky,” he answers. “I had to make sure that my students read El Cid. But the boys did not like it. They wanted to read Garcia Lorca. Then I decided that they would study El Cid at home and that in class I would teach the authors the boys liked the most. Of course, young people wanted to read more ‘racy’ literary works, like the contemporary La Casada Infiel or classics like La Celestina, by Fernando de Rojas. But by reading these things they acquired a taste in literature, poetry, and we went on to other authors. And that was for me a great experience. I completed the program, but in an unstructured way—that is, not ordered according to what we expected in the beginning, but in an order that came naturally by reading these authors. And this mode befitted me: I did not like to have a rigid schedule, but rather I liked to know where we had to go with the readings, with a rough sense of where we were headed. Then I also started to get them to write. In the end I decided to send Borges two stories written by my boys. I knew his secretary, who had been my piano teacher. And Borges liked those stories very much. And then he set out to write the introduction to a collection of these writings.”
“Then, Holy Father, creativity is important for the life of a person?” I ask. He laughs and replies: “For a Jesuit it is extremely important! A Jesuit must be creative.”

Frontiers and Laboratories

During a visit by the fathers and staff of La Civiltà Cattolica, the pope had spoken about the importance of the triad “dialogue, discernment, frontier.” And he insisted particularly on the last point, citing Paul VI and what he had said in a famous speech about the Jesuits: “Wherever in the church—even in the most difficult and extreme fields, in the crossroads of ideologies, in the social trenches—there has been and is now conversation between the deepest desires of human beings and the perennial message of the Gospel, Jesuits have been and are there.” I ask Pope Francis what should be the priorities of journals published by the Society of Jesus.
Ours is not a ‘lab faith,’ but a ‘journey faith,’ a historical faith. “The three key words that I commended to La Civiltà Cattolica can be extended to all the journals of the Society, perhaps with different emphases according to their natures and their objectives. When I insist on the frontier, I am referring in a particular way to the need for those who work in the world of culture to be inserted into the context in which they operate and on which they reflect. There is always the lurking danger of living in a laboratory. Ours is not a ‘lab faith,’ but a ‘journey faith,’ a historical faith. God has revealed himself as history, not as a compendium of abstract truths. I am afraid of laboratories because in the laboratory you take the problems and then you bring them home to tame them, to paint them, out of their context. You cannot bring home the frontier, but you have to live on the border and be audacious.”
I ask for examples from his personal experience.
“When it comes to social issues, it is one thing to have a meeting to study the problem of drugs in a slum neighborhood and quite another thing to go there, live there and understand the problem from the inside and study it. There is a brilliant letter by Father Arrupe to the Centers for Social Research and Action on poverty, in which he says clearly that one cannot speak of poverty if one does not experience poverty, with a direct connection to the places in which there is poverty. The word insertion is dangerous because some religious have taken it as a fad, and disasters have occurred because of a lack of discernment. But it is truly important.”
“The frontiers are many. Let us think of the religious sisters living in hospitals. They live on the frontier. I am alive because of one of them. When I went through my lung disease at the hospital, the doctor gave me penicillin and streptomycin in certain doses. The sister who was on duty tripled my doses because she was daringly astute; she knew what to do because she was with ill people all day. The doctor, who really was a good one, lived in his laboratory; the sister lived on the frontier and was in dialogue with it every day. Domesticating the frontier means just talking from a remote location, locking yourself up in a laboratory. Laboratories are useful, but reflection for us must always start from experience.”

Human Self-Understanding

I ask Pope Francis about the enormous changes occurring in society and the way human beings are reinterpreting themselves. At this point he gets up and goes to get the breviary from his desk. It is in Latin, now worn from use. He opens to the Office of Readings for Friday of the 27th Week in Ordinary Time and reads me a passage from the Commonitorium Primum of St. Vincent of Lerins: “Even the dogma of the Christian religion must follow these laws, consolidating over the years, developing over time, deepening with age.”
The view of the church’s teaching as a monolith to defend without nuance or different understandings is wrong.The pope comments: “St. Vincent of Lerins makes a comparison between the biological development of man and the transmission from one era to another of the deposit of faith, which grows and is strengthened with time. Here, human self-understanding changes with time and so also human consciousness deepens. Let us think of when slavery was accepted or the death penalty was allowed without any problem. So we grow in the understanding of the truth. Exegetes and theologians help the church to mature in her own judgment. Even the other sciences and their development help the church in its growth in understanding. There are ecclesiastical rules and precepts that were once effective, but now they have lost value or meaning. The view of the church’s teaching as a monolith to defend without nuance or different understandings is wrong.
“After all, in every age of history, humans try to understand and express themselves better. So human beings in time change the way they perceive themselves. It’s one thing for a man who expresses himself by carving the ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace,’ yet another for Caravaggio, Chagall and yet another still for Dalí. Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning.
“Humans are in search of themselves, and, of course, in this search they can also make mistakes. The church has experienced times of brilliance, like that of Thomas Aquinas. But the church has lived also times of decline in its ability to think. For example, we must not confuse the genius of Thomas Aquinas with the age of decadent Thomist commentaries. Unfortunately, I studied philosophy from textbooks that came from decadent or largely bankrupt Thomism. In thinking of the human being, therefore, the church should strive for genius and not for decadence.
“When does a formulation of thought cease to be valid? When it loses sight of the human or even when it is afraid of the human or deluded about itself. The deceived thought can be depicted as Ulysses encountering the song of the Siren, or as Tannhäuser in an orgy surrounded by satyrs and bacchantes, or as Parsifal, in the second act of Wagner’s opera, in the palace of Klingsor. The thinking of the church must recover genius and better understand how human beings understand themselves today, in order to develop and deepen the church’s teaching.”

Prayer

I ask Pope Francis about his preferred way to pray.
“I pray the breviary every morning. I like to pray with the psalms. Then, later, I celebrate Mass. I pray the Rosary. What I really prefer is adoration in the evening, even when I get distracted and think of other things, or even fall asleep praying. In the evening then, between seven and eight o’clock, I stay in front of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour in adoration. But I pray mentally even when I am waiting at the dentist or at other times of the day.
“Prayer for me is always a prayer full of memory, of recollection, even the memory of my own history or what the Lord has done in his church or in a particular parish. For me it is the memory of which St. Ignatius speaks in the First Week of the Exercises in the encounter with the merciful Christ crucified. And I ask myself: ‘What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What should I do for Christ?’ It is the memory of which Ignatius speaks in the ‘Contemplation for Experiencing Divine Love,’ when he asks us to recall the gifts we have received. But above all, I also know that the Lord remembers me. I can forget about him, but I know that he never, ever forgets me. Memory has a fundamental role for the heart of a Jesuit: memory of grace, the memory mentioned in Deuteronomy, the memory of God’s works that are the basis of the covenant between God and the people. It is this memory that makes me his son and that makes me a father, too.”

Since it's deleting my entries as I type, I'll leave my comments at the bottom here:

a. God save us from more USCCB power. They already spew DNC talking points, if they have actual authority, God knows what will happen. The liberals will have a field day with authority..if anything, the Bishops' conferences need to disappear...on the grounds that it will make the individual Bishops' more responsible for the people who ar entrusted to their care. While most certainly things should be governed by the principle of subsidiarity whenever possible, there are certain things that should never be left to the power of the USCCB or Bishops' conferences in general (thank you Vatican II). The lack of statements from Rome...are effectively saying...Bishops' do your job, so we don't have to...which on one ground, I can agree to, but it's nice to have support from Rome on the bigger issues of the day...even if not to particular policies or bills of the day. I would agree that micromanagement from Rome would not be a good thing, but hey, get us some good Bishops' and you'll have less of a job to do :)

b. The issue of HOW Petrine primacy is to be executed is something that can most certainly be up for debate. You know, collegiality would be a whole lot easier if the Bishops' as a collective whole were of the same mind and purpose. (And this is probably what Vatican II was aiming for...but as with many of the ventures failed in its actual application)...That is to say once people are out of communion with the Pope it should be immediately recognized....(WREC Liturgies for example, do not express the mind or communion of the Pope....what if the instant these liturgies happened, the communion was vanquished, and had to be publically re-established....or in otherwords, start punishing Bishops for mis-deeds, and the situation for collegiality will work smoother.

c. The average parish is ran by women practically at least in the Engish speaking world...perhaps we should get women to return to their vocation before we discuss "advancing the role of women" in the Church ;)...

d. The 2nd Vatican Council had some actual good substantial texts on the Liturgy...only one problem...application of these principles didn't happen. Does your average parish know Latin? Are the propers of the Liturgy being sung? Of coruse not. If you ever get a chance to attend the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom of the Byzantine Rite, perhaps you'll see what Vatican II was aiming for for the Western Church, that is to say to re-discover the true sense of Liturgy...restoring the Traditional Mass was a vital step towards this. The road that the Emeritus Pope was travelling on the Liturgy was a good one, and the Liturgical Abuses by you Pope Francis have derailed this path...but of course the Truth will not be undermined.

e. I don't think the Vetus Ordo has a risk of idealization, I think the NO has a greater risk of idealization...perhaps it's me, but the manufactured nature of the NO tends to place the personality of the perosn ahead of the person of Christ. If everyone celebrated the NO like our dear Emeritus Benedict XVI, I don't think there'd be as many issues with the NO. But the true sense of Liturgy does need to be re-discovered. Let us assist in that...and not place restrictions upon the FFI.

f. Those of us on the traditional side of various isssues do tend to want to see rules followed and things restored to order and beauty. This doesn't mean that we idolize them, or get complacent in these things...if anything it's the opposite we want the rules to be followed so that people do NOT become complacent in the error of their ways. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, God does not change, even though people and their attitudes might. \

g. After reading this interview, while I'm still weary of him, it's decreased by a bit in the sense that now I have a better idea of where he's coming from...Most certainly the Holy Father needs our prayers and we should pray for him....I know he makes it hard sometimes, but we must pray, the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church...

Pax Vobis

 

Parts VII-IX

Thinking With the Church

I ask Pope Francis what it means exactly for him to “think with the church,” a notion St. Ignatius writes about in the Spiritual Exercises. He replies using an image.
“The image of the church I like is that of the holy, faithful people of God. This is the definition I often use, and then there is that image from the Second Vatican Council’s ‘Dogmatic Constitution on the Church’ (No. 12). Belonging to a people has a strong theological value. In the history of salvation, God has saved a people. There is no full identity without belonging to a people. No one is saved alone, as an isolated individual, but God attracts us looking at the complex web of relationships that take place in the human community. God enters into this dynamic, this participation in the web of human relationships.
“The people itself constitutes a subject. And the church is the people of God on the journey through history, with joys and sorrows. Thinking with the church, therefore, is my way of being a part of this people. And all the faithful, considered as a whole, are infallible in matters of belief, and the people display this infallibilitas in credendo, this infallibility in believing, through a supernatural sense of the faith of all the people walking together. This is what I understand today as the ‘thinking with the church’ of which St. Ignatius speaks. When the dialogue among the people and the bishops and the pope goes down this road and is genuine, then it is assisted by the Holy Spirit. So this thinking with the church does not concern theologians only.
We should not even think, therefore, that ‘thinking with the church’ means only thinking with the hierarchy of the church.“This is how it is with Mary: If you want to know who she is, you ask theologians; if you want to know how to love her, you have to ask the people (How can one one know, if one isn't taught?). In turn, Mary loved Jesus with the heart of the people, as we read in the Magnificat. We should not even think, therefore, that ‘thinking with the church’ means only thinking with the hierarchy of the church.
After a brief pause, Pope Francis emphasizes the following point, in order to avoid misunderstandings: “And, of course, we must be very careful not to think that this infallibilitas of all the faithful I am talking about in the light of Vatican II is a form of populism (The Church is not a democracy). No; it is the experience of ‘holy mother the hierarchical church,’ as St. Ignatius called it, the church as the people of God, pastors and people together. The church is the totality of God’s people.
“I see the sanctity of God’s people, this daily sanctity,” the pope continues. “There is a ‘holy middle class,’ which we can all be part of, the holiness Malègue wrote about.” The pope is referring to Joseph Malègue, a French writer (1876–1940), particularly to the unfinished trilogy Black Stones: The Middle Classes of Salvation.
“I see the holiness,” the pope continues, “in the patience of the people of God: a woman who is raising children, a man who works to bring home the bread, the sick, the elderly priests who have so many wounds but have a smile on their faces because they served the Lord, the sisters who work hard and live a hidden sanctity. This is for me the common sanctity (We're all called to holiness regardless of our state in life). I often associate sanctity with patience: not only patience as hypomoné [the New Testament Greek word], taking charge of the events and circumstances of life, but also as a constancy in going forward, day by,  day. This is the sanctity of the militant church also mentioned by St. Ignatius. This was the sanctity of my parents: my dadmy mom, my grandmother Rosa who loved ​​me so much. In my breviary I have the last will of my grandmother Rosa, and I read it often. For me it is like a prayer. She is a saint who has suffered so much, also spiritually, and yet always went forward with courage.
“This church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity (Well, we are sinners). And the church is Mother; the church is fruitful. It must be (she). e first thing that comes to mind is: ‘Here’s an unfruitful bachelor’ or ‘Here’s a spinster.’ They are neither for You see, when I perceive negative behavior in ministers of the church or in consecrated men or women, thathers nor mothers, in the sense that they have not been able to give spiritual life. Instead, for example, when I read the life of the Salesian missionaries who went to Patagonia, I read a story of the fullness of life, of fruitfulness.
“Another example from recent days that I saw got the attention of newspapers: the phone call I made to a young man who wrote me a letter. I called him because that letter was so beautiful, so simple. For me this was an act of generativity. I realized that he was a young man who is growing, that he saw in me a father, and that the letter tells something of his life to that father. The father cannot say, ‘I do not care.’ This type of fruitfulness is so good for me.” (I agree, but there are many that write, don't all deserve letters at this rate?)

Young Churches and Ancient Churches

Remaining with the subject of the church, I ask the pope a question in light of the recent World Youth Day. This great event has turned the spotlight on young people, but also on those “spiritual lungs” that are the Catholic churches founded in historically recent times. “What,” I ask, “are your hopes for the universal church that come from these churches?”
The pope replies: “The young Catholic churches, as they grow, develop a synthesis of faith, culture and life, and so it is a synthesis different from the one developed by the ancient churches. For me, the relationship between the ancient Catholic churches and the young ones is similar to the relationship between young and elderly people in a society. They build the future, the young ones with their strength and the others with their wisdom. You always run some risks, of course. The younger churches are likely to feel self-sufficient; the ancient ones are likely to want to impose on the younger churches their cultural models. But we build the future together.” (What?)

The Church as Field Hospital

Pope Benedict XVI, in announcing his resignation, said that the contemporary world is subject to rapid change and is grappling with issues of great importance for the life of faith. Dealing with these issues requires strength of body and soul, Pope Benedict said. I ask Pope Francis: “What does the church need most at this historic moment? Do we need reforms? What are your wishes for the church in the coming years? What kind of church do you dream of?”
Pope Francis begins by showing great affection and immense respect for his predecessor: “Pope Benedict has done an act of holiness, greatness, humility. He is a man of God. (Indeed, may our dear Pope Emeritus enjoy retirement)
the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity (I disagree, but let us continue). I see the church as a field hospital after battle.“I see clearly,” the pope continues, “that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! (slight problem in this analogy...it's important to know about health history and any allergic reactions before giving someone medicine...so actually it just might be useful...mom was in medical field, you don't learn these things overnight) You have to heal his wounds (I agree that wounds must be healed, but wounds must be healed properly otherwise an infection would take place). Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds.... And you have to start from the ground up.
“The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules (but without the little pieces, you don't have a big picture, do you not? A puzzle isn't magically formed without all the pieces working together in a coesive whole). The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you (Agreed, but might be better to used "redeemed" vs. saved...salvation is a final act, whether we end up in heaven or hell...redemption allows us access, provided we cooperate with the Grace of God). And the ministers of the church must be ministers of mercy above all (Again, this places a false dichotomy between mercy and law, both are necessary). The confessor, for example, is always in danger of being either too much of a rigorist or too lax (of course). Neither is merciful, because neither of them really takes responsibility for the person (well, I wouldn't say that being rigorous or enforcing the laws of the Church fails to take responsibility for the person....). The rigorist washes his hands so that he leaves it to the commandment. The loose minister washes his hands by simply saying, ‘This is not a sin’ or something like that. In pastoral ministry we must accompany people, and we must heal their wounds (I'd agree, wounds need to be healed, but truth need not be compromised in the process...perhaps there are ways to say things better, this is of course can always be up for debate, but the truth of Christ can't be compromised).
“How are we treating the people of God (We can most certainly say that the people of God have been mistreated in various fashions, whether it's abuse of person, or abuses in the Liturgy or various other things)? I dream of a church that is a mother and shepherdess (She is this way in spite of her clergy, the human element, makes not the Church, the Church is both human and divine). The church’s ministers must be merciful (Mercy and enforcement of law are not opposed to each other), take responsibility for the people and accompany them like the good Samaritan, who washes, cleans and raises up his neighbor. This is pure Gospel. God is greater than sin (Most definitely). The structural and organizational reforms are secondary—that is, they come afterward (I disagree, i think the opposite, but of course, since when does my opinion matter). The first reform must be the attitude (well, interior attitude is important, this is most importantly acheived through the Liturgy). The ministers of the Gospel must be people who can warm the hearts of the people (subjective feelings are not that important, people will be offended regardless of what happens...certainly we should always try to convey the Truth in charity and with consideration for the person, but that said, if we base things upon subjectivity we run into huge huge huge problems, which we have seen over the past 50+ years. ), who walk through the dark night with them, who know how to dialogue and to descend themselves into their people’s night, into the darkness, but without getting lost. The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials (Amen, Pope Francis, on this I agree, but first things first Holy Father, call everyone to obedience to the Truth). The bishops, particularly, must be able to support the movements of God among their people with patience, so that no one is left behind (so that they may all be one, definitely a good thing, but if people reject the Truth, that's on them). But they must also be able to accompany the flock that has a flair for finding new paths.
“Instead of being just a church that welcomes and receives by keeping the doors open, let us try also to be a church that finds new roads, that is able to step outside itself and go to those who do not attend Mass (Again, I agree, but we need to get to the root of the problem, why are they not attneding Mass? why have they become indifferent?...We should certainly reach to them, but it's a lot easier to understand when you have an understanding of the problem versus something different), to those who have quit or are indifferent. The ones who quit sometimes do it for reasons that, if properly understood and assessed, can lead to a return. But that takes audacity and courage.”
I mention to Pope Francis that there are Christians who live in situations that are irregular for the church or in complex situations that represent open wounds. I mention the divorced and remarried, same-sex couples and other difficult situations. What kind of pastoral work can we do in these cases? What kinds of tools can we use?
“We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner,” (I agree, the Truth of Christ needs to be taught everywhere and in every place) the pope says, “preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of disease and wound (We teach the Truth, and bring them to why this is so...May our beloved Benedict XVI enjoy his retirement). In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them (the Church does not condemn anyone!...glad to see that in the next sentence). But the church does not want to do this. During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge (Well, he's not God, and in this sense he's right...but again, this is only one half of it...). By saying this (Explaining his comments from earlier), I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person (Well, that depends on what we mean by interfering...an individual's devotional life, their prayers, their attempt at sanctity we definitintely have no right to interfere with...but if that person is in sin, or is doing something that is leading them away from God...it is our duty to point them to right right direction).
A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. (Total reverse psychology here..._A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’(Well, God wants to perfect us in Him...) We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation (God is always present in everyone's life, certainly this is true, however it is another thing entirely to cooperate with His Grace, He does not force us to obey him, it is in total freedom that we do). It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.
“This is also the great benefit of confession as a sacrament: evaluating case by case and discerning what is the best thing to do for a person who seeks God and grace (Go to zee box). The confessional is not a torture chamber (When I was a little kid, I kind of thought this, LOL!), but the place in which the Lord’s mercy motivates us to do better (Yep, it's an uphill battle alright). I also consider the situation of a woman with a failed marriage in her past and who also had an abortion. Then this woman remarries, and she is now happy and has five children. That abortion in her past weighs heavily on her conscience and she sincerely regrets it. She would like to move forward in her Christian life. What is the confessor to do? (Well, going to Confession is the first step...and making sure the other marriage is annulled so that the person is not living in sin, definitely a good step)
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. (But these are the issues of the day that are being attacked in much of the Church Universal...perhaps it is not that way in the Spanish speaking world so much...but these are issues being addressed, and something needs to be done about it...while certainly not everyday things need to be said) This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that (Well, we all know what they say about silence for an extroverted person ;)...These issues are huge, and it's nice to have support from the top in the daily grind of life...). But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time (On one respect, I agree, while every sermon, and all messages don't need to be about these issues, if there's something where this issue being attacked in the public square, all the ammo and support is necessary....Perhaps this is the case in your place, but in the Church Universal, rarely do you hear these things talked about...Most of the time sermons are about God's mercy and love, ignoring the half of justice and cooperating in God's grace).
The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent. The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently. The dogmatic and moral teachings of the church are not all equivalent (Nor should anyone expect them to be). The church’s pastoral ministry cannot be obsessed with the transmission of a disjointed multitude of doctrines to be imposed insistently (seems to be the complete opposite of what was protrayed in the media, I don't really think abortion, was specifically being mentioned in this part of the address). Proclamation in a missionary style focuses on the essentials (but that leads to a question, how do we define what is essential? Is something less essential just because Jesus himself didn't mention it? But we are not a Church of the Bible alone, but of the Logos, Christ Himself, a person, who reveals himself in His Word, both oral and written), on the necessary things: this is also what fascinates and attracts more, what makes the heart burn (but wasn't that tried before in the 70's? How did that work? Not so well...look at the average parish...perhaps we shouldn't worry about trying to "attract" them, as letting the Person of Christ doing the attracting...as our dear Emeritus has said, the Truth in of itself is attractive, a Church that tries to sell itself is a disaster), as it did for the disciples at Emmaus. We have to find a new balance (again, the opposition of law and mercy are not necessary); otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards (the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church...the Truth will always work, always preached in charity of course), losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel. The proposal of the Gospel must be more simple, profound, radiant. It is from this proposition that the moral consequences then flow (Maybe it's me, but for me, that doesn't work...I believe that if one teaches the Truth of Christ, all will eventually come, some will scatter away, but you can't force that).
“I say this also thinking about the preaching and content of our preaching. A beautiful homily, a genuine sermon must begin with the first proclamation, with the proclamation of salvation. (Or the sign of the Cross) There is nothing more solid, deep and sure than this proclamation. Then you have to do catechesis (orthodox catechesis). Then you can draw even a moral consequence (step 3). But the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives (I think the former has been emphasized a bit too much...it is of course a balance, but that said, I think one needs to know what one is jumping into before jumping ;)). Today sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing (LOL, try going to the average parish on a ninja unannoucned visit). The homily is the touchstone to measure the pastor’s proximity and ability to meet his people (it's not about the homily, it's about Christ in the Eucharist, the homily can be horrible, but Christ is always there in Holy Communion), because those who preach must recognize the heart of their community and must be able to see where the desire for God is lively and ardent (Eh, teach the Truth, and don't worry). The message of the Gospel, therefore, is not to be reduced to some aspects that, although relevant, on their own do not show the heart of the message of Jesus Christ.”

23 September 2013

Some people ask why? let me help

I was reflecting last night and I came to some thoughts.

Every time one goes to a parish, there are some parishes with a "peace and justice" ministry which we all know is code for anything but peace and justice. They actually do go out and help the poor, feed in the soup kitchens, do outreach and things like that....and yet, pretty much all of these parishes have atrocious liturgies (and that's being nice) and they're typically ran by Sr Mary Pants suit, or insert some person with liberal agenda here....

Is it any wonder why those that are in traditional circles are a bit put off by going to the outreaches? (Not to say that it should be this way) Associations matter for better or for worse....think about it: When the USCCB supports some DNC talking point, those of us that are in the conservative movement typically run away to the opposite point, whenever it's available. Or if Cardinal Mahony says x, one more than likely is to think y instead.

Rather unfortunately the liberals have "the poor" and it shouldn't be this way. Most certainly all of us should be involved in helping the poor. Which is why I don't think Pope Francis is completely wrong on this point....but then again for those of us who followed BXVI's teachings closely, we saw that these things went hand and hand together. That is to say, one must love God to have capacity to love neighbor, neither needs to be excluded....And like our dear Emeritus, didn't put much fan fare or attention to the love of neighbor, it came naturally from our love of God...You'd see us in prisons, helping the poor, but it's almost as if we're not there, because we let Christ shine through and not force the situation. Pope Benedict visited prisons several times, no attention was paid to them of course....Pope Benedict XVI also mentioned various things about immigration...no one ever noticed....for you see, these things came naturally from the love of God expressed highest through the Liturgy.

There is a self built wall by those on both sides....perhaps this is what Pope Francis is getting at, and for once, I can actually agree with him. There need not be dichotomy between the two....but we also don't need to lose decorum and proper Liturgy to do this.

Pax Vobis

Thought of the day

Keep Calm? Keep Calm? NO :)

Parts IV-VI of the interview

Emphasis and comments are mine :)

 

The Society of Jesus

Discernment is therefore a pillar of the spirituality of Pope Francis. It expresses in a particular manner his Jesuit identity. I ask him then how the Society of Jesus can be of service to the church today, what are its characteristics, but also the possible challenges facing the Society of Jesus.
The Society of Jesus is an institution in tension,” the pope replied, “always fundamentally in tension. A Jesuit is a person who is not centered in himself (One would hope not, but perhaps what's in the Spanish speaking world is a bit different that what the English speaking world experiences). The Society itself also looks to a center outside itself; its center is Christ and his church.(Why isn't Church capitalized? ugh, the Church universal should be capitalized)" The Society of Jesus is an institution in tension (that's putting it rather nicely),” the pope replied, “always fundamentally in tension. A Jesuit is a person who is not centered in himself. The Society itself also looks to a center outside itself; its center is Christ and his church (epic fail, capitalize Church!). So if the Society centers itself in Christ and the church (capitalized when referencing the Universal Church), it has two fundamental points of reference for its balance and for being able to live on the margins, on the frontier. If it looks too much in upon itself, it puts itself at the center as a very solid, very well ‘armed’ structure, but then it runs the risk of feeling safe and self-sufficient (perhaps that's what has happened a ton in the English speaking world the society turning inwards towards itself). The Society must always have before itself the Deus semper maior, the always-greater God, and the pursuit of the ever greater glory of God, the church as true bride of Christ our Lord (the lack of capitalization of Church is disturbing...it is lowercase when referring to a local church or the parish, but uppercase when referring to the whole Church...to be fair Pope Francis didn't write this interview, but I need to point this out), Christ the king who conquers us and to whom we offer our whole person and all our hard work, even if we are clay pots, inadequate (all of us are inadequate, but God perfects us with His grace). This tension takes us out of ourselves continuously. The tool that makes the Society of Jesus not centered in itself, really strong, is, then, the account of conscience, which is at the same time paternal and fraternal, because it helps the Society to fulfill its mission better. (Let's just take a look at the vast majority of colleges ran by the SJ's...how are they doing mission wise? are they faithful to the Church?...(Don't even answer that)”
The pope is referring to the requirement in the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus that the Jesuit must “manifest his conscience,” that is, his inner spiritual situation, so that the superior can be more conscious and knowledgeable about sending a person on mission.
“But it is difficult to speak of the Society,” continues Pope Francis. “When you express too much, you run the risk of being misunderstood (Ironic isn't it?...Perhaps he's yet to learn that as Pope, one can't always yap without a script...but of course the reverse holds true too, if you express too little, you can also be misunderstood). The Society of Jesus can be described only in narrative form. Only in narrative form do you discern, not in a philosophical or theological explanation, which allows you rather to discuss. The style of the Society is not shaped by discussion, but by discernment, which of course presupposes discussion as part of the process. The mystical dimension of discernment never defines its edges and does not complete the thought. The Jesuit must be a person whose thought is incomplete, in the sense of open-ended thinking. There have been periods in the Society in which Jesuits have lived in an environment of closed and rigid thought (riiiiiiiiiiiiiight), more instructive-ascetic than mystical (well, the Jesuits have never really been Liturgical): this distortion of Jesuit life gave birth to the Epitome Instituti.”
The pope is referring to a compendium, made for practical purposes, that came to be seen as a replacement for the Constitutions. The formation of Jesuits for some time was shaped by this text, to the extent that some never read the Constitutions, the foundational text. During this period, in the pope’s view, the rules threatened to overwhelm the spirit, and the Society yielded to the temptation to explicate and define its charism too narrowly.(Quite frankly, I think it was more or less intellectual pride that got in the way)
Pope Francis continues: “No, the Jesuit always thinks, again and again, looking at the horizon toward which he must go, with Christ at the center. This is his real strength. And that pushes the Society to be searching, creative and generous. So now, more than ever, the Society of Jesus must be contemplative in action, must live a profound closeness to the whole church as both the ‘people of God’ and ‘holy mother the hierarchical church.(good to see this mentioned)’ This requires much humility, sacrifice and courage, especially when you are misunderstood or you are the subject of misunderstandings and slanders, but that is the most fruitful attitude. Let us think of the tensions of the past history, in the previous centuries, about the Chinese rites controversy, the Malabar rites and the Reductions in Paraguay (Liturgical pluralism in of itself isn't a bad thing).
“I am a witness myself to the misunderstandings and problems that the Society has recently experienced. Among those there were tough times, especially when it came to the issue of extending to all Jesuits the fourth vow of obedience to the pope. What gave me confidence at the time of Father Arrupe [superior general of the Jesuits from 1965 to 1983] was the fact that he was a man of prayer, a man who spent much time in prayer. I remember him when he prayed sitting on the ground in the Japanese style. For this he had the right attitude and made the right decisions.” (That worked really well didn't it?)

The Model: Peter Faber, ‘Reformed Priest’

I am wondering if there are figures among the Jesuits, from the origins of the Society to the present date, that have affected him in a particular way, so I ask the pope who they are and why. He begins by mentioning Ignatius Loyola [founder of the Jesuits] and Francis Xavier, but then focuses on a figure who is not as well known to the general public: Peter Faber (1506-46), from Savoy. He was one of the first companions of St. Ignatius, in fact the first, with whom he shared a room when the two were students at the University of Paris. The third roommate was Francis Xavier. Pius IX declared Faber blessed on Sept. 5, 1872, and the cause for his canonization is still open.
The pope cites an edition of Faber’s works, which he asked two Jesuit scholars, Miguel A. Fiorito and Jaime H. Amadeo, to edit and publish when he was provincial superior of the Jesuits in Argentina. An edition that he particularly likes is the one by Michel de Certeau. I ask the pope why he is so impressed by Faber.
“[His] dialogue with all,” the pope says, “even the most remote and even with his opponents; his simple piety, a certain naïveté perhaps, his being available straightaway, his careful interior discernment, the fact that he was a man capable of great and strong decisions but also capable of being so gentle and loving.”
Michel de Certeau characterized Faber simply as “the reformed priest,” for whom interior experience, dogmatic expression and structural reform are inseparable. The pope then continues with a reflection on the true face of the founder of the Society.
“Ignatius is a mystic, not an ascetic,” he says. “It irritates me when I hear that the Spiritual Exercises are ‘Ignatian’ only because they are done in silence. In fact, the Exercises can be perfectly Ignatian also in daily life and without the silence. An interpretation of the Spiritual Exercises that emphasizes asceticism, silence and penance is a distorted one that became widespread even in the Society, especially in the Society of Jesus in Spain. I am rather close to the mystical movement, that of Louis Lallement and Jean-Joseph Surin. And Faber was a mystic.”

Experience in Church Government

What kind of experience in church government, as a Jesuit superior and then as superior of a province of the Society of Jesus, helped to fully form Father Bergoglio? The style of governance of the Society of Jesus involves decisions made by the superior, but also extensive consultation with his official advisors. So I ask: “Do you think that your past government experience can serve you in governing the universal church?” After a brief pause for reflection, he responds:
“In my experience as superior in the Society, to be honest, I have not always behaved in that way—that is, I did not always do the necessary consultation (A tendency to rule absolutely? This I suppose can be both a good and a bad). And this was not a good thing (Let's find out why). My style of government as a Jesuit at the beginning had many faults. That was a difficult time for the Society: an entire generation of Jesuits had disappeared (Why did they disappear?). Because of this I found myself provincial when I was still very young. I was only 36 years old. That was crazy (Perhaps, but with God's grace all is possible right?). I had to deal with difficult situations, and I made my decisions abruptly and by myself (the abruptly part is the only bad thing in this situation really, making decisions on one's own is fine, as superior you have this "right" but one can say it would be wise to consult with others before jumping. But making quick decisions is not a good thing for anyone, one must always be wise and calculated). Yes, but I must add one thing: when I entrust something to someone, I totally trust that person (Perhaps a good, yet perhaps not so good). He or she must make a really big mistake before I rebuke that person (It's never the big things, it's alsways the little things). But despite this, eventually people get tired of authoritarianism (Well, if the right decisions are being made, I'd disagree, but if one uses their power corruptly, or incorrectly then absolutely this can happened).
To be sure, I have never been like Blessed Imelda [a goody-goody], but I have never been a right-winger (Well, I guess the word would be moderate). It was my authoritarian way of making decisions that created problems (Or perhaps it wasn't the authoritarianism per se, it may have been what you were deciding) “My authoritarian and quick manner (quick and decisions usually don't go well together) of making decisions led me to have serious problems and to be accused of being ultraconservative (like this is a bad thing). I lived a time of great interior crisis when I was in Cordova. To be sure, I have never been like Blessed Imelda [a goody-goody], but I have never been a right-winger. It was my authoritarian way of making decisions that created problems.
“I say these things from life experience and because I want to make clear what the dangers are (Okay). Over time I learned many things. The Lord has allowed this growth in knowledge of government through my faults and my sins. So as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, I had a meeting with the six auxiliary bishops every two weeks, and several times a year with the council of priests (definitely a good thing). They asked questions and we opened the floor for discussion. This greatly helped me to make the best decisions. But now I hear some people tell me: ‘Do not consult too much, and decide by yourself (Others can lead you astray...this is why one must be careful in consulting).’ Instead, I believe that consultation is very important (Can't consult too much though).
I do not want token consultations, but real consultations.“The consistories [of cardinals], the synods [of bishops] are, for example, important places to make real and active this consultation (With the USCCB, God help us all). We must, however, give them a less rigid form. I do not want token consultations, but real consultations. The consultation group of eight cardinals, this ‘outsider’ advisory group, is not only my decision, but it is the result of the will of the cardinals, as it was expressed in the general congregations before the conclave. And I want to see that this is a real, not ceremonial consultation.” (Perhaps, we'll see)
 
Extra comments
a. I must say I don't get a sense that he see's the Church Universal quite yet...even though there were particular problems in his own country. I think that it's good that he's emphasizing faithfulness to the Church, but from the English speaking world, I haven't seen it, maybe the SJ's are different in the non-English speaking world, but from hearing about all the scandals at the Jesuit ran universities at least here in the states...
 
b. There is a saying that one can let intellect become a sense of idolatry. Perhaps these were some of the problems facing the Jesuits during the time of tension so to speak. Too much intellect didn't allow for the formation of the spiritual, which could have saved them from the major crisis of faith that happened during the 60's and so on.
 
c. I think it's a little suspect to trust people completely for a job. Perhaps that's the skeptic in me, or perhaps, it's the fact that I believe that a job well done is a job done by one's self. People can betray trust or not come through on a particular project. Now if people manage to come through, great...but I suppose he'll learn that sooner or later.
 
d. I also get the sense that, perhaps he connects rash and quick judgements with authoritarianism. To be authoritative doesn't necessarily mean that one has to make quick judgements. One can make slow and deliberate judgements and still be authoritative. As I tell my students, I'm an absolute dictator, this is not a democracy...your votes do not matter....But his own mistakes doesn't mean he does not need to be authoritative....In otherwords one doesn't need to be the opposite of what one is just to avoid mistakes...it's called perfecting who you are within yourself....instead of making quick decisions...don't....instead of making the wrong decisions...don't
 
e. I hope to God that the Bishops' Conferences (save Kazakstan, Nigeria, Sri Lanka)...don't get more power...that is the last thing Bishops' Conferences need....especially with our friends the USCCB and the CCB, Lord knows what will happen if we let the liberals there run the show.

21 September 2013

The Pope's interview, a direct, frank commentary...part I-III

Taken from here: emphasis and comments mine.

Who Is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?

I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition (Most certainly very accurate, as all of us are, definitely a good way to start). It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.I ask Pope Francis point-blank: “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” He stares at me in silence. I ask him if I may ask him this question. He nods and replies: “I ​​do not know what might be the most fitting description.... I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.(Lord Jesus, Son of David, Have Mercy on me a sinner)
The pope continues to reflect and concentrate, as if he did not expect this question, as if he were forced to reflect further. “Yes, perhaps I can say that I am a bit astute, that I can adapt to circumstances, but it is also true that I am a bit naïve (Naïve? as to what? towards what end?). Yes, but the best summary, the one that comes more from the inside and I feel most true is this: I am a sinner whom the Lord has looked upon.” And he repeats: “I ​​am one who is looked upon by the Lord. I always felt my motto, Miserando atque Eligendo [By Having Mercy and by Choosing Him], was very true for me.”
The motto is taken from the Homilies of Bede the Venerable, who writes in his comments on the Gospel story of the calling of Matthew: “Jesus saw a publican, and since he looked at him with feelings of love and chose him, he said to him, ‘Follow me.’” The pope adds: “I think the Latin gerund miserando is impossible to translate in both Italian and Spanish. I like to translate it with another gerund that does not exist: misericordiando [“mercy-ing”]. (Well, I like when words are not translated from Latin)
Pope Francis continues his reflection and says, jumping to another topic: “I do not know Rome well (Well, now is a good time to learn). I know a few things. These include the Basilica of St. Mary Major; I always used to go there. I know St. Mary Major, St. Peter’s...but when I had to come to Rome, I always stayed in [the neighborhood of] Via della Scrofa. From there I often visited the Church of St. Louis of France, and I went there to contemplate the painting of ‘The Calling of St. Matthew,’ by Caravaggio.

“That finger of Jesus, pointing at Matthew. That’s me. I feel like him. Like Matthew.” Here the pope becomes determined, as if he had finally found the image he was looking for: “It is the gesture of Matthew that strikes me: he holds on to his money as if to say, ‘No, not me! No, this money is mine.’ Here, this is me, a sinner on whom the Lord has turned his gaze. And this is what I said when they asked me if I would accept my election as pontiff.” Then the pope whispers in Latin: “I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance.” (Reminds me very much of the words our Emeritus was rumored to have said after his election as Pontiff, "why me" or something to that shagrin....tis good to resign in the will of Christ Jesus, but that said, if one does not wish to bear the cross, one does have free will)

Why Did You Become a Jesuit?

I continue: “Holy Father, what made ​​you choose to enter the Society of Jesus? What struck you about the Jesuit order?”
“I wanted something more. But I did not know what. I entered the diocesan seminary. I liked the Dominicans and I had Dominican friends. But then I chose the Society of Jesus, which I knew well because the seminary was entrusted to the Jesuits (Well, if they're anything like the SJ's in the English speaking world, this can't be good). Three things in particular struck me about the Society: the missionary spirit, community and discipline (this must have been well practiced when he was in seminary, he must have seen this in action, because I do not think he would have been attracted otherwise). And this is strange, because I am a really, really undisciplined person (we've noticed). But their discipline, the way they manage their time—these things struck me so much.
“And then a thing that is really important for me: community (extrovert, I must say, even when I was in discernment for religious life...I was looking for authentic community...but communal life was not the first thing that attracted me to religious life, I'm not a people person, the community was there, it's good and useful, but well...). I was always looking for a community (yep). I did not see myself as a priest on my own. I need a community (yep, extrovert, as you can tell, I generally do not get along with those extrovert type people :p). And you can tell this by the fact that I am here in Santa Marta. At the time of the conclave I lived in Room 207. (The rooms were assigned by drawing lots.) This room where we are now was a guest room. I chose to live here, in Room 201, because when I took possession of the papal apartment, inside myself I distinctly heard a ‘no.’ The papal apartment in the Apostolic Palace is not luxurious. It is old, tastefully decorated and large, but not luxurious. But in the end it is like an inverted funnel. It is big and spacious, but the entrance is really tight. People can come only in dribs and drabs, and I cannot live without people (We can tell). I need to live my life with others. (That may be so, but I'm afraid if you wanted to stay religious and with a community, you should have declined to be appointed Bishop...and definitely declined to be Pope...In the words of a friend of mine, you've got to be crazy to desire to be Bishop)

What Does It Mean for a Jesuit to Be Bishop of Rome?

I ask Pope Francis about the fact that he is the first Jesuit to be elected bishop of Rome: “How do you understand the role of service to the universal church that you have been called to play in the light of Ignatian spirituality? What does it mean for a Jesuit to be elected pope? What element of Ignatian spirituality helps you live your ministry?”
“Discernment (Like deciding to ditch the red maryr shoes, the moazetta and stole right? ;),” he replies. “Discernment is one of the things that worked inside St. Ignatius. For him it is an instrument of struggle in order to know the Lord and follow him more closely )(Oh, this, yes, much better). I was always struck by a saying that describes the vision of Ignatius: non coerceri a maximo, sed contineri a minimo divinum est (“not to be limited by the greatest and yet to be contained in the tiniest—this is the divine”). I thought a lot about this phrase in connection with the issue of different roles in the government of the church, about becoming the superior of somebody else: it is important not to be restricted by a larger space, and it is important to be able to stay in restricted spaces (What?). This virtue of the large and small is magnanimity. Thanks to magnanimity, we can always look at the horizon from the position where we are. That means being able to do the little things of every day with a big heart open to God and to others. That means being able to appreciate the small things inside large horizons, those of the kingdom of God (Translation?).
“This motto,” the pope continues, “offers parameters to assume a correct position for discernment, in order to hear the things of God from God’s ‘point of view.’ According to St. Ignatius, great principles must be embodied in the circumstances of place, time and people (One slight problem, Ignatian spirituality is not for everyone, nothing wrong of course, but as a religious one must recognize that we're  not all called to the same thing). In his own way, John XXIII adopted this attitude with regard to the government of the church, when he repeated the motto, ‘See everything; turn a blind eye to much; correct a little.(One could argue that this didn't work so well)’ John XXIII saw all things, the maximum dimension, but he chose to correct a few, the minimum dimension. You can have large projects and implement them by means of a few of the smallest things. Or you can use weak means that are more effective than strong ones, as Paul also said in his First Letter to the Corinthians. (Well, different personalities govern differently)
I believe that we always need time to lay the foundations for real, effective change.“This discernment takes time (On this, I agree, change does not happen overnight, but destruction does). For example, many think that changes and reforms can take place in a short time (ditching proper choir dress for the Pope was a quick change ;)). I believe that we always need time to lay the foundations for real, effective change. And this is the time of discernment. Sometimes discernment instead urges us to do precisely what you had at first thought you would do later. And that is what has happened to me in recent months (Re-locatinon does that ya know). Discernment is always done in the presence of the Lord (Amen!), looking at the signs, listening to the things that happen, the feeling of the people (but I think there's a problem if you get too caught up in the emotional trauma of insert situation here), especially the poor (I hope we're not just thinking financially poor, but the spiritually poor as well). My choices (so we know this was you and not anyone else, good), including those related to the day-to-day aspects of life, like the use of a modest car, are related to a spiritual discernment that responds to a need that arises from looking at things, at people and from reading the signs of the times (Maybe this is just the non-people person in me, but I always say to heck with what people think or preceive, the reality is what the reality is, and one is not in control completely how one is perceived. I mean by that one can always say the right things, and do the right things, but peoples' opinions of you will be what they are, and that's how it will always be). Discernment in the Lord guides me in my way of governing (Which hopefully you'll do).
“But I am always wary of decisions made hastily (Hmmm, one can always put back on the proper choir dress it's not too late). I am always wary of the first decision, that is, the first thing that comes to my mind if I have to make a decision (This is very good, the first decision isn't always the best one, but then again, neither is the 2nd, or the 3rd or even the 4th...it's very important to be calcuated and be very precise, when making decisions). This is usually the wrong thing. I have to wait and assess (I suppose this is a good thing, if one is going to do something, do so correctly and without mistakes), looking deep into myself, taking the necessary time. The wisdom of discernment redeems the necessary ambiguity of life and helps us find the most appropriate means, which do not always coincide with what looks great and strong.”

Extra comments:

a. I think I've finally come to something I have in common with Pope Francis...a not so high opinion of one's self. I get the sense that he uses the simple phrase, I am a sinner because it's the most accurate, and quite frankly is true of all of us, as all of us fall short of the glory of God, (to varying degrees)
b. To the degree that he's naieve as he's described himself, this is quite true that he's an outsider and someone who isn't too much into the Roman way of things. The positive is that he says that he can adapt to the situations, the negative is it really hasn't been seen to this point. It's been mostly for better or for worse the exaltation of his own person and lot letting the situation form him (from what I have seen and in my own humble opinion of course)
c. The desire for community and being with the people is something that perhaps I'm a bit weary of because of my own lack of understanding of this desire. As someone who can't stand people and I generally seek to avoid any spotlight of any type (even as a teacher), the desire to be with people is something that I'll never fully get. I mean I like people, but in quotas, and perhaps the fact that there are 2 polarizing mindsets at odds with each other is one of the reasons I'm uncomfortable with him. Even when I was pursuing religious life, the communal aspect was not the first aspect that appealed to me. As I often times say, in spite of the people, I work with them. But really if one thinks about it, it's a different approach to the same problem. I'm sure that he is seeking to make Christ present....but while I, Benedict XVI and those like us, seek this by disappearing, Pope Francis seeks it by appearing and using his person to do so...I suppose it will have to be an agree to disagrree type of papacy.
d. His religious formation has a huge influence on him, this is clearly a strength, but at the same time, he's going to have to recognize that really, it's not time to be a religious anymore. Now you are Pope and the things that you were once able to do, you will no longer be able to do in the same way that you were as a religious. 
e. I must say to this point at least with what I've read, While I don't think Pope Francis and I will become best buddies, I'm starting to get a picture of where he's coming from, and while I disagree with the vast majority of prudential things that he's done, we'll see where this takes us. 

20 September 2013

19 September 2013

Before I comment

I'll read the Pope's interview for myself...be patient, there's a lot to go through, and I promise to not be too harsh :)

Thought of the day

Silence is a good opportunity to listen for those with the ears to listen.

18 September 2013

Thought of the day

To carry the cross is difficult, as one would expect it to be. Perhaps sometimes it'd be made easier if there weren't weights being added at a constant rate to the a particular cross...instead it might be easier if instead of watching the person suffer with their cross that they help that particular person carry their cross.

I'll probably have to go to the box, but I need to say this...

Upon reflection, I think I finally realized what disturbs me so much about the present pontificate...

The poor are being elevated at the expense of everyone and everything else....

This is of course not to say that we shouldn't be helping the poor, we absolutely should, and most certainly this is apart of the spirutal works of mercy of which all of us in our capacity should do.

As Father Blake mentioned on his blog, working with the poor is not as romanticized as we often see it protrayed.

Often times there are various addictions, messes and various other issues to deal with, it is by no means easy. It is a rather big challenge that all of us are called to do in whatever our capacity in life is.

But in case you haven't noticed, the so called "war on poverty" has actually created more people in poverty, interesting is it not? I'm going to make a statement that will probably take all of you a back...but here...

The papal elevation of the poor will have disaterous consequences, resulting in more people in spiritual poverty..Or rather, things will be made worse.

The poor have been elevated in exchange for the lack of decorum, lack of public statements, and the lack of action to the crisis that is infecting the Church.

Again this isn't to say that the poor aren't important, or should not be taken care of, but not at the expense of everything, but not at the expense of everyone or everything else. It's almost as if they're being used for an agenda.

The poor we we will always have with us, and clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, feeding the hungry, are all works of mercy and we should all be doing these things to the degree that we are able.

Our Lord does not say whether a gov't program, or a private entity should take care of the poor (and for good reason), it is up to us to do so. But in trying to do so (the war on poverty), it's almost as if we're taking the Words of Our Lord upside down....trying to eliminate a so called problem.

Strictly speaking we're not just talking about the material poor, we're also talking about those that are spiritually poor as well.

The elevation of the material poor will result in the ignoring of the spirutally poor. There are those of us that are served by beauty (of which I consider myself one of them), one of the reasons the pontificate of Pope Benedict spoke to me personally. Order and beauty are things that I think all humans need (even within the subjectivity of what defines or what can be classified as beautiful)...The poor are not an end in of themselves, and I think that people on the left tend to get this point confused.

We most certainly are to help them, but we are not to let them become a form of idolatry where we ignore everything else. Everything makes sense in the proper order, God first, evreyone else second, you last.

Justice requires that we do everything well and to the best of our ability....We worship God the best that we can. (By following the rubrics, paying attention, giving to God rightly what is due to Him, beautiful vestments, and all of the Church so called bling is not for the glorificatrion of ourselves or the priests/deacons/religious wearing them, but rather so that the person disappears and that Christ is made present.

Perhaps I'm just wierd, but I'm a bit put off by this elevation of people at the expense of everything else. Or maybe it's just my extremely introverted side coming out. I just think that doing these things on a more low key level would be appropriate....that is to say there's a point that one can emphasize anything to the point of ad nausem.

Does everyone remember when Pope Benedict XVI came to visit the US? Does anyone remember the impromptu visiting with the sex abuse victims in DC? Of course not, it happened unannounced, and was kept completely low key.

In otherwords, to be humble one should first recognize that God gives the gift, and then disappear. In otherwords, proclaiming one's humility does the opposite of what one intends. There is no need to proclaim such a thing. While I understand Pope Francis is not in control of how he is protrayed, he is in control of what he says...and to do nothing to curtail this just mind boggles me.

May Our Lord have mercy on us

Pax Vobis