I like this Pope. I’m out of the Church, not a detail, you know, but I come from Rome and I was Christianized in the Parish of Santa Emerenziana. I have no faith, but I think humanity without faith, full of fanaticism, aligned to incredulity as religion of reasoning human beings, of politically correct. I consider Francis as a Jesuit from the Sixteenth century, I expect him to mislead the world, disappointing the demi monde applauding, courting and wheedling him in any possible way.
Dal libro di Giuliano Ferrara, Alessandro Gnocchi e Mario Palmaro “Questo papa piace troppo”, in libreria.
I like this Pope. I’m out of the Church, not a detail, you know, but I come from Rome and I was Christianized in the Parish of Santa Emerenziana. I have no faith, but I think humanity without faith, full of fanaticism, aligned to incredulity as religion of reasoning human beings, of politically correct. I consider Francis as a Jesuit from the Sixteenth century, I expect him to mislead the world, disappointing the demi monde applauding, courting and wheedling him in any possible way. He laid reason and intellect off the stage, overturning the setting decided by his two predecessors, both very dear to me, masters of Christian Enlightenment; he moved the core of the ultimate relation for man from the knowledge of reality and rational space of mystery to the feeling of divine – an un-rationalized heart; the place for believing is the internal faith of your soul, where you love God and God loves you, a faith which is unfathomable by others than the believer and the prayer; out of the public square of objectivity, now the insidious guardian of ideology. Francis’ reforming spirit is a sound counter-reformation too: he pursues the secret and mimetic fight with the secular word, typical of Ignatius’ spirituality, characteristic of the mystical interiority of Peter Faber, the first Jesuist priest, indicated by Bergoglio as his alter-ego, and by him canonized just few months after he became Pope. He is fighting against mystical suggestions that blinks at this postmodern spirit, following the new age and other philosophically derived canons, he is moving the mystical ascension to the background – given that the twenty-first century abhors it, as well as the doctrine dispute or ethic duel, but still, he is fighting. I like him, then. I think, and I hope, he is not sort of a banal progressive, willing to mix with the dominant belief just to get his church guaranteed through political pacification, historical acceptation, ethic resIgnatiusn, cultural anonymity. Still, I find the passionate and well-discussed Alessandro Gnocchi and Mario Palmaro’s critics significant, marvelous, given their communicative talent and straightforwardness. Without this contradictions, this peculiarly evangelical “yes, no”, Pope Francis would be a banal media darling, sweetheart to that world trying to be absolved for its sins and worldly vices thanks to its strategy of compassion, mercy and affection.
He is liked. He is not liked. This pamphlet is one of its kind: nihil de pontifice nisi bonum, this is the new rule, which is well worth a break. Being “anti-papal” in the modern culture has been common, pure conformism in the élite. Only Pope John XXIII was loved, everyone hated his predecessor and he brought optimism back after the war, he was a symbol of goodwill, happy caresses with pacifier attitude with humankind – he then vanished into the legend of “the good Pope”, providentially. After him, every Pope was disappointing for the mainstream culture. There were “pious” popes (Pius X, Pius XI, Pius XII), accused of fighting modern times, of indulging with fascism, of opposing communism and compromising with Nazism; they were perceived as expression of a conservative spirit, reactionary in doctrine and pastoral routine. It’s common to consider it all as originating from Pius IX and his Syllabus against the freedom of the French Revolution, whose sons during the Nineteenth century fought with earthy powers and tried to de-Christianize Europe (the infallible pope was seen as too realist even by the Roman papist Giulio Andreotti, and that says it all). Giuseppe Alberigo, founder of the democratic Catholics, and historian of the Council, prayed with his wife for the death of Pope Pacelli – as he said during an interview. Alberto Melloni, his successor, said there is an historical connection between the anti modernist offensive by Pope Pius X and the beginning of totalitarian regimes. As per the secularist and liberal thinking, which is rhetoric of cultured classes too, and has become untreated stuff to educated secularized masses, well it despised in the “progressive” and follower of Maritain Paul VI the enemy of contraceptive pills, in John Paul II the crusader of the anticommunist and the ultimate evangelization, in Benedict XVI the intrusive demand of existing into the public square, of lecturing about philosophical and moral drifts of ethical relativism.
This had happened, until Francis came.
Who am I to judge? If you say so, if you do not include it into its usual catechistic metaphor – which the Church has always been including, which has been reconciling and absolving and justifying, while judging, well in this case Bergoglio’s key sentence, pronounced during a flight back from Copacabana, is the emblem of anyone giving the Church only one dimension, the one coming from personal awareness of Christianized persons, from the patronizing goodwill of enlightened – it has become the universal certificate of insurance for a potentially renewed Papal spiritual influence. It is the emblem of ethical relativism, of the dictatorship “of the self and its will” (Joseph Ratzinger, funeral sermon for John Paul II). It is not like that, indeed, at least in its deepest and secret part, but it seems like that, and there’s no one like a Jesuit for distinguishing essence and appearance, for deciding time by time. Thus, if you don’t like this Pope, in the chattering classes and secularist establishment, well it’s just less than a provocation against the new idol of freedom of consciousness. If you try to criticize, then you are excluded, mocked, emarginated.
Longtime nonbelievers have suddenly embraced a comfortable idea of “hearth and soul faith” offering them shelter from the consequences of Christian culture; pious secularist, asking His Holiness for answers – and he is a sly one, he answers, bestowing a generous absolution to their Don Juan-like, un-regretful conscience. They even think the Mozart’s “Commendatore” abolished sins. The praise the end of spiritual interference into men’s life, the refusal of pivoting pastoral life on defending life, traditional marriage and family. The injunction to repent, with proper consequences in case of refusal, is seen as a “theological antique” from times in which booths for confession were “chambers of torture.” Even for unrepentant sinners this is a time of Evangelii Gaudium, as the apostolic exhortation – sort of a report of the International’s General Secretary – in which the basis of a new period are laid (and time is greater than space, says the Pope) and of a new way to announce the Trinitarian Kerygma, which “would be incorrect to interpret as doctrinal education.” Francis wants to “take the initiative, accompany, fructify and commemorate,” and of course, everyone likes it.Faithful people have a heart too. The new missionary church of mercy is supported by records of merciful omnipotence – attributed by the Aristotelian Saint Thomas Aquinas (as the Pope reminds) to the supreme virtue of love, pardoning and justifying, Christian life is hence made even more fruitful by a new way of practicing faith, as secular life has its own parallel way to enjoy and swelling up of such an abundant spirituality. Parishoners from time to time were faithfully devoted to the vicars of Christ or silently separatists, real Catholicism pursues its own complicated and various ways, but exercising criticism of ideas is concentrated, because of its own very nature, at least the superficial one, to newspapers and books, to historians and philosophers and theologians, to the system of mass communication, to activist intellectuals. Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s debut has determined into the beau monde the end of any independence of thinking: from sapere aude to credere aude of a devotio mondana, provided that the slip has no unpleasant consequence onto the ascetic discipline of inhibitions, a forbidden subject for new devotees. The new impression is the flatterers’ one, they are rich scandalized by poverty, different people concerned by differences, puritans without morals, new bigots unable to kneel down, Jacobins constantly looking for their philosophical Supreme Being, provided that it is not the one of revelation, the one of Christian and ecclesial dogmatic theology; the new politically and ideologically correct impression is that the Church has decided to secularize itself, completely, to become democratic, to get itself into perspective, to modernize itself at last, embracing the world in the wake of conciliating hope, seen as a breaking point capable to re-write tradition. Mission accomplished.
Yet, Catholic Church had to escape a long siege. I am writing this with a good knowledge of the matter. In the early March, 2012, a year before Benedict XVI’s big resIgnatiusn, I authored an article, The Pope’s resIgnatiusn, containing the following exact words: “I think that, if there is a Pope or a man able to consider his own resIgnatiusn possible, and scandalously well-timed, able to think about the possibility of dedicating himself to something else than the care given to the universal Church of his time, obviously in the range of a lively and neat succession, with the charismatic certainty of a result giving more power and safety in the government of Catholicism, well this Pope is Benedict XVI, and this man is Joseph Ratzinger”. The ruling Pope was at the time the oldest in charge in a hundred years. The insidious, wealthy, subtly orchestrated campaign about pedophilia in the clergy, now downsized, had shattered the self-confidence of catholic apostles. The Pope of reason, fighting against relativism, had to submit himself to penance and expiation, even in the so-called “zero-tolerance” attitude. His astonishing speeches, from Regensburg on, were a manifesto of counter-culture, of philosophical, ethical, legal, political and spiritual wisdom, totally unrelated to the banality and shortsightedness of the time. The Roman curia, “left home” (Melloni) during John Paul II’s apostolic pilgrimages, and neglected by his successor/theologian – who, together with Saint Bonaventura, put in charge of the visible Church the ‘light of God’ and the powerful ability of the vicar of Christ of elaborating ideas – not the curial governance, was being decommissioned, going rotten as vassal of the media system measuring them on the ground of power and money. Between Poland and Bavaria, Europe has given its best after the endless Italian season, for over three decades. Yet, at last it gave more than possible, the absolutely unlikely, it resigned: and it resigned in favor of a totally astonishing solution of succession. With the extraordinary debut of a Jesuit who, dressed in white, would have given himself the special obedience, circa missions, that the fourth vow of Reverend Fathers gives to Pope. Bergoglio has given himself a mission, and obediently comply with it.
The first task is the one we all know, we all talk about. Saying good morning and bon appetit as perceptive exercise of humility and familiarity with daily life, keeping the razors close to the book of hours for shaving without any help, as in the Domenica del Corriere cover rightly recalled by Gnocchi and Palmaro when talking about Pacelli, travelling as the common man, bringing his briefcase by himself, living – as other prelates do – in a three-room flat, defining himself as bishop, and then as Pope, reducing distances and practicing a wanton closeness, releasing daring interviews and speaking off the cuff, officiating Mass in Lampedusa with the wooden frills of a shipwreck liturgy, care about the poor and the poverty of the Church, cancelling the habit of the Renaissance of suits and concerts, hitting the Papal symbolism as emblem of the vicar of Christ’s plenitude potestatis, giving a smart and explicative biblical-poliltical speech every morning in the chapel of his residence, obfuscating the persona Papae in its abstraction, embodying it, giving it individuality and activism to the person temporarily fulfilling the task, renouncing to the liturgical gold and to the imperial red slippers, penetrating media by learning from the digital revolution, using polls to understand people’s attitude, interacting with devotees with the sociological and political wisdom of a populist leader, inviting mothers of Christians-to-be newborns to breast-feed in the Sistine Chapel, going out of the Vatican walls overnight for giving a handout to the poor, washing Muslim detainees’ feet.
The list is long, and I am not shocked. Yet I understand the scandal of the paolotta spirituality claimed by the authors of this pamphlet. A man so close to you is distancing the sacredness of the papacy.
Far from the simple faith but not from politics, the centers of political analysis such as The Politico rightly explain to Barack Obama that Francis’ approval rating is twice as his because of “the power of humility” – they suggest him to learn from the Pope, who is credible as non-politician hence is one of the most influent politicians in the whole world, they teach him that downsizing himself let the Pope boost his rank, “as only the ones who eat can celebrate fasting, only the ones with a strong sense of their role can idealize a renounce to it.” James Carroll on the New Yorker said, “It is clear that Pope Francis is not a liberal. But if he initiates a true shift in the way that power is exercised in the Church he may turn out to be a radical”. The realistic myth of a revolutionary Pope.
Yet Francis’ revolution is not essentially a political revolution, even though a Jesuit is never authorized to forget that his minimum target is transforming the world, hence governing it also, and especially, through the education of other people’s consciences to a certain idea of freedom. A continuous reinterpretation. It is, or it is supposed to be, a revolution – I mean, it is supposed to get you back to the start. Francis is indeed taking a risky way, embracing mystique, giving himself a preference for the mystic springs of Jesuitism, often misunderstood as a mere fighting ascetic life. This is clear from the conversation with Father Spadaro S.I., and was reaffirmed with the immediate canonization of Peter Faber, showing his radical interest for the intellectual mentor of the Fabula mystica, Michel de Certeau’s research manifesto, the stronger postmodern pages ever, between Lacanian’s psychoanalysis and cultured interpretation of the XVI and XVII Christian centuries. Yes, mystique. Each Pope is a mystic too, more or less. This time is different though. This is not a personal attitude. This is theoretical root. This is cultural and philosophical approach. This is a way to force religion, hence to force the Church as theandric institution, human and divine at the same time, towards the unifying passion to God, who is potentially and happily conflicting with the sacramental and sacerdotal mediation. Liselotte Richter, scholar with a passion for Kierkegaard, cited by Sergio Rostagno in a volume on philosophy and mystique edited by Benedictines, says that “mystique springs where the religious person declines and intends the religious aspect as a substantial civil religion, actualizing in sacerdotal and prophetic ways accepted by everyone and commonly permitted”. When the forms of religion are orthodox formalism, “void of participation, hence mystique comes”, being aware that “here, religion is an eminently popular and public issue, while mystique is reserved to the inner self of persons”. The old good religious world, popular and public, cannot hold on with people? Here comes Francis, the explorer of a new and very old world that, after modernity, is able to recover devotees and non-devotees’ approval and participation ready to post-modern devotion.
As things were, and would have gone, in November, 2013 a short essay on La Civiltà Cattolica, 150-year old Jesuit magazine printed with the authorization of the Vatican Secretary of State, informed us of the perfect parallelism between Francis’ debut and the “reform of the Church according to Saint Ignatius of Loyola”, founder of the Society of Jesus. Father Enrico Cattaneo S.I. underlines, in the wake of an Ignatius’ letter to the Society’s delegates in the Council of Trento, the terms of the accomplished parallelism. The letter is not about doctrine nor theology, it deals with life style and testimony, the real key of the Counter-Reform or Catholic Reform according to the sender. “The style is not only the cover of the book – Antonio Spadaro S.I., editor of Civiltà Cattolica, says about his Pope – the style is the book itself!”.
The target of Ignatius’ followers was the clergy, overwhelmed by the Luteran protest. The modern Jesuit is concerned about the storm of secularization. In the communication pastoral, as Father Cattaneo S.I. calls in modern terms the Ignatian art of conversation, the indication is for “a very big opening in consciences” when talking with other people. In sermons, as well in the interviews given to Mr. Scalfari, it is necessary “not to touch points of divergence between Protestants and Catholics, pushing to good habits and devotions as suggested by the Church” (suggestions can be found in the Letters). Prudence and chasteness top it all. This is a specific issue. The parallelism concerns the hopes raised in the founder of the Jesuits hope by pope Marcello Cervini, who was elected on the 9th of april 1555 and reigned just twenty three days. In a letter of April 16, Ignatius recalls that Marcellus “has the same name he had as Cardinal, as he did not want to change his habits”. Jorge Mario chose the unprecedented name of Francis, a significant name (saint Francis and saint Dominic where models from whom the Founder took inspiration), still he did not want to change his habits. In fact, he did not. When elected, the others increased the personnel and given money to people, Pope Marcellus does the opposite. In March 2013, argentinian devotees were suggested not to come to Rome for celebrating him, better to give that money to charities. “He goes to Saint Peter’s Church and to the Palace Chapel – wrote Ignatius – by foot only, and officiates Mass by himself with astonishing devotion”. It seems to me we are in Santa Marta, transported by a minivan or by a Ford Focus. The first decision of curial reform taken by Marcellus were against lobbies – which at the time were disguised under nepotism. Financial lobbies had other names, no gay lobbies at the time, no Vatican Bank, ok, but the same old story. The structural reform follows the conversion of the souls, first of clergy’s souls – they will self-amend themselves together with the Pope. The very same thing, said by Ignatius to his brothers, and by our Pope in his interviews and allocutions.
Luther and Ignatius “understood very well that a reform of the Church in caput et membris, could not succeed if it were not started from the caput, that is from the Pope, bishops and whole clergy”, Father Cattaneo S.I. writes. The holiness of the Holy Father, that Pietro Favre to whom Francesco gets inspiration from to speak the Gospel with softness, “without inquisitorial beatings”, as he said on occasion of his canonization homily, was an inspired teacher of humanistic precordia of ecumenism and dialogue, and on the day of St. Elizabeth, as he tells in the Memoriale (M 25), had great devotion to spiritually remind, with equanimity and “without concern for their flaws” in perfect parallelism between them, “the Supreme Pontiff, the Emperor, the King of France, the King of England, Luther, Turco, Buccero and Filippo Melantone”, that is the main players of the Protestant Reformation, Henry VIII, the adulterer and the King of France who cooperated with Turco. Other Jesuits, such as Simon Rodriguez – Michel de Certeau wrote in a note to the Memoriale – had a different opinion: “There was no place for solemn burials…” Ignazio’s other companion wrote, a few years later, about the Protestant custom to bury their people without ceremonies, “… because they were already condemned to the torments of Hell”. Similarities and spiritual lineage. Just think about another Jesuit Saint: Robert Bellarmine, and to the attitude towards Giordano Bruno. They are the less known straight lines at least in the geometry of the Reverend Fathers. However, Luther gave to the Church the poison of the universal and non-consecrated priesthood, and abolished the ecclesial crowd of the sacraments; Ignatius gave the religious exercises and much more. Ignatius’ followers, until Ignatius reigned and beyond, gave and continued to give everything. They represent diverging similarities. This is the revolution of Francesco, a Jesuit of the sixteenth century who became Pope surprisingly in the XXI century: the mimetic re-conquest of the century using means that are acceptable to such time period, under the flag a tradition that is, above all, the tradition of his order.
“Every good Christian should be readier to save an assertion of his fellow man than to condemn it; and if he cannot save it, he must try to know what his fellow man means by it; and if his fellow man means it in a wrong manner, he must correct him with love; and if it is not enough, he has to try with all the suited means, because by understanding it correctly, he may save himself”. (Ignatius, spiritual Exercises 22). Father Rogelio Garcia Mateo S.I. in a short essay on Favre and Lutheranism (The Catholic Civilization dated December 2013) quotes this along with the invitation of Ignatius to Peter Canisio and other brothers so that “they may become lovable, making themselves available to everyone”. So it is necessary to “convert” the heretics of our time, “so as they may love us and may accept us well in their spirit”, St. Peter Favre also suggested. The truth exists, whether it is relationship or substance, but to present it to the Lutherans yesterday, and to the grandchildren of Diderot today, one must be open to everything. Francesco repeats it every day. Clearer than that, an ambivalent and ambiguous thought, can never be.
There is no thought without ambivalence; this is the lesson I learnt from the best of the secular culture and a philosophic Benedictine teacher, Father Elmar Salmann O.S.B. Ambiguity is something else. And it is a risk even for a Jesuit of the Sixteenth century happily and boldly reappeared in our time “to show a miracle.” The true question that our traditionalist Catholic dissent writers ask while they already seem to know the bitter answer is specifically this: is there no ambiguity in opposing a faith with no doctrine, without absolute truth, to the “generative grammar” of Tradition, in other words to the basic structures of human faith that speak of reasons through reasoning and lock them in liturgical supremacy, in accordance to what has always been and believed everywhere and thought to be usual procedure in the Christian and Catholic culture? Francesco’s reply was at first very harsh, even embarrassing, and reiterated in forms even harsher by his spokesmen and coryphaei on the Italian bishops’ press. The Catholic traditionalist was treated worse than the Lutheran heretics were treated by Jesuits like St. Faber in the initial years of the secularization. Speaking at Casa Santa Marta, while the two articles of two isolated critics on the new pontificate and pastoral means were published, Francesco accused them, while from a human point of view, he phoned one of them to state his personal and hierarchical closeness in the role of loving father under the banner of the Church’s good as a common heritage of being ideologues, “specialists of the Logos” and to take the risk to embrace spirituality offspring of tradition, but not of God. Not a bad blow at all. On the other hand, everybody already knows that one of this pontiff’s traits, a relevant feature which in general I like, is his decisiveness, and he himself, in a famous initial interview at Father Spadaro S.I., acknowledged his fault of hastiness and a bit of authoritarianism in pastoral methods.
Later, on January 20, 2014, the Pope wanted to better clarify, always speaking off the cuff at Casa Santa Marta, the meaning of his call to obedience, and internal order of the apostolic community, which is the Church. The faithful need the “courage to always discern, discern – and not to relativize – what the spirit always does in my heart, what the spirit wants in my heart, where the spirit leads me in my heart. And obey.” Because “God must be accepted with this openness to novelty”. And this attitude “is called docility”. Hence the invitation to ask oneself a few questions, as the Osservatore Romano’s reporter states when he reports almost every day in the morning the words of the Bishop of Rome: “Am I obedient to the word of God or do I always do what I believe is the word of God? Or do I make the word of God go through an alembic and at the end it comes out to be another thing respect to what God wants to do?”. Discern, he says, do not relativize. A clarification throwing the hands forward, symbol of the fact that there is a problem definition between the two terms, and that the ingenious idea of inner discernment, to empty and see God in all things, in the complete indifference of the “perfect Jesuit”, is always in danger of being reduced to the banal idea of relativism of the true, good and holy. The call for docility in front of the Word, understood as divine inspiration and not as an alembic of doctrinal and traditional interpretations, sounds shrill and Biblical - political, in fact. It sounds like a warning against the inaction, against the fear of surprises and novelties, against the personal seizure by the conservative believer of an ecclesial truth presumed of a higher level than the living and changing testimony of faith given by the vicar of Peter, if not Jesus. But the distinction between discernment and relativism is even – one may hope – a slight warning to those among the secularized flatterers who look for a distinguishing art of the Reverend Father dressed in white, a new edition of Jesuit casuistry in the Seventeenth century, that attitude censured by Blaise Pascal to justify everything, across the grotesque road of a “discerning probabilism” in the name of a strange Grace capable of relativize good and evil in relation to the conscience of each. A supreme masterpiece of Christian literature of all time, and even according to Voltaire, a great foundational book of French literature, the longing Provinciali of Molier, pilloried in saecula saeculorum just that small dash of union between the discerning and relativizing that Francesco says he wants to transform, worth the ambiguity on the fundamentals, in a small dash of separation. The Messieurs of Port Royal will have also been “sinister” in their Jansenist moralism, but among other things, they reared Jean Racine, gave the fodder to the authorities of the Sorbonne and seduced Pascal, of which fact they should be thanked, even though their bones were put into mass graves, after the razing of their monastery by order of the Sun King who listened to the Reverend Fathers. As the great homilist Bossuet said with irony, the Jesuits are “experts in benevolence.” But up to a point.
The simple and very complex question now is this. The revolution of benevolence, visible up to this stage in the style of the Jesuit Papacy, with no apparent consequences of the first magnitude in the Catholic faith in the dogmatic system, will he sooner or later modify or even distort in a worldly sense the meaning of the apostolic faith, one, holy, and also Roman or Latin (the place of ecclesiastic Orientalism is eminent, now in vogue, but is it an original “aside”?). The Christian doctrine collected and kept in the Church where the people of God state to be under the orders of Jesus Christ is then this and nothing else. It is the human meaning of faith as well as its measure of divine unfathomability. (Doctrine is a degraded and rigid word in the religious lexicon of modern people as a dogma or devotion. Really it is a pungent word and full of reality and culture and consequences). In short, is the register or paradigm changed by implementing the aspirations of those who wanted the Vatican II as an antagonist of the Council of Trento?
Francis removed a few conservative cardinals, and he innovated and is innovating the Church starting from the caput, that is, himself. He set up a government of “eight” cardinals chosen for the co-ordination and one of them is the coordinator of coordinators, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The Pope called for the Fall of 2014 a Vatican III of sorts: the synod dedicated to the rewriting of the pastoral instructions on family, which is the heart of secularization and a fundamental element of the Church and in its relationships with the world. This all involves marriage, sex, celibacy of priests, the role of women in the ecclesia, the gay culture that is the decisive ideological phenomenon in the gender culture, or in the controversy of biblical idea that God “created male and female” because from the point of view of Nietzsche “persons become what they are” or better “they are what they become” for cultural and environmental choice, with the help of technical and scientific means. If one says family, one says, in the Church and in society, the authorities. Family is the place where it is possible to experience all the main ethical and liturgical questions of the Catholic community and humanistic culture in the modern world: from abortion to divorce, from procreation divinely or medically assisted up to the Holy Communion for divorced and remarried people, not to talk about the issue of education. Sacraments are exposed to risks, as in the sixteenth century. It is said that a demanding expression given the size and the wild character of that book, that the gospel of this Pope is sine glossa, unmoved of interpretations. And yet Cardinal Maradiaga believed to be recently authorized, speaking with the newspaper of Cologne, the city held in the catholicity also for the preaching of St. Peter Favre, to say that Jesus has declared the need not to divide what God joined together, to protect a sacramental and untouchable idea of wedding, though – according to the deupty-pope – it is always possible to “interpret”, it is always possible a gloss. And this concept, according to which there is no truth but only relationship and interpretations, it should be missed by Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the head of the Holy Office and Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, because he is a “German”, he has “the mentality of a German theologian” Müller is theologian appointed by Ratzinger, confirmed by Bergoglio, who wrote: Take care of the divine mercy, there is also the divine justice, there is the depositum fidei that cannot be touched .
“Specialist of the Logos” and “German theologian” seem to be, therefore, two accusations, even if, in Vatican, another man dressed in white is living, the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, who as a German theologian is universally recognized as a specialist of the Logos. In short, it could be true what the Reverend Father Joseph Daoust S.I., Provost of the Roman houses of the Society of Jesus, not just the newcomer, stated to James Fallows: “The way we practice our faith is related to how we think. The way in which we believe is related to what we practice. There is a comings and goings, always in the history of the church. I do not say that his style will not go doctrinally anywhere – I think that will happen the opposite.… It has always happened in the history of the church”.
Alessandro Gnocchi and Mario Palmaro, just read them, are the two authors who signed sine glossa and in advance of his release the statement of Father Daoust, with reversed sign; the pastoral style will inevitably lead to a doctrinal rupture. Their texts are important, and sincere and enlightening, for this reason: because they predict, while they try to avoid it, a future of reform of the Church as obligated that to some – they call them the “Normal” – seem now only changes in practices. In turn, I do not want to interpret them. Readers will judge. I know them personally, the “Paolini”. They have sensitivity as ecclesiastic viri disguised as a natural modesty of simple faithful as elementary popular devotion. They feel what they write. It costs them something of importance because they had to express themselves. Many Catholic devotees within an active minority in matters of faith share all or part of their ideas, which are not opinions but pleadings, and perhaps supplications or begging. Even the traditionalist Catholics have a heart, I think one should think.
In a formidable chapter of his Meditation sur l’Eglise (Cerf editions, a text dated 1953), the theologian of the Nouvelle theologie, Father Henri de Lubac S.I. explains everything on the relationship of filiation and motherhood that binds the Church as God’s house and its faithful inhabitants. The pages entitled Ecclesia mater are ambivalent but never ambiguous. Outside the church, the man is alone, in exile forever. An unhappy priest in the twilight of his apostasy, Father de Lubac begins, said that: “By this time I am no more than a philosopher, that is to say, a man alone”. The Church is not a community of fate, but of vocation, and who is outside cannot seek consolation in anything else that is human, the art or thought will not tear the man to his solitude once he is off “from this large constituency that is the Christianity” (Paul Claudel). The “perfect Dove” controls naturally the rules of ecclesiastical life. We can say as Origen said: “My vow is to be an ecclesiastic man”. We can say to be sensitive to the “difficulties of religion”, as was the Blessed John Henry Newman, Cardinal converted from Anglicanism to Rome at the end of the Nineteenth century, with liberal education , and scholar of “development of Christian doctrine”, and many other things. But finally, we are guided “not by the habits and inclinations, but by the dogmatic truth”. “It is part of the ecclesial style, however, a spirit more charitable than polemical”, radical dissent is excluded in principle. The Church has always been the seat of acute doctrinal controversies, from the differences between the theology of St. Paul and that of St. John (afraid of disputes between the eminent cardinals Müller and Maradiaga).
The important thing is that the ecclesiastical man, that is the good faithful “does not transform” these diatribes with a petty and superficial logic, in oppositions or contradictions”. On the contrary, he has to see them through “the bond of love”, as the “shades on the neck of a dove”, “Keeping a broader spirit of one’s own ideas” is ambivalent and seductive delivery of the great Jesuit who was one of the fathers of Vatican II and then drew back in a prudent and suspicious reserve for his consequences. With words that seem addressed, seventy years later, to the skeptical traditionalists about the landing of the Catholic reform in progress, Father de Lubac says that “before breaking a rush, we will always try to straighten its orientation”.
As to the method of discussion, the Christian has the duty to be passive, he loves obedience as an expression of knowledge, of doing and believing that come from God, his are in some sense “idées reçues” rather than cold processing of an intelligence coming from the experience of the world and human reality. Of course, before a definitive and dogmatic order is established, the obedient Christian “does all he can, if it is necessary to illuminate the authority. He has not only the right, he has a duty, and the practice of this duty sometimes requires his heroism. But the hierarchy church, as it is and not as we would like it was, imposes the obligation “to maintain a certain distrust of principle with respect to its own personal opinion. It “considers the head (of the church) the head of the episcopate” and “father of all Christian people”, or, as St. Ignatius of Loyola said, “the master of the whole harvest of Christ.” At the top of the Jesuit happy ambivalence, between the praise of freedom and submission to received ideas, Father de Lubac invites people to obey the Pope, in the footsteps of Peter, with this wonderful subject matter: “And perhaps is it to deny the circle to show that it has a center? And is it perhaps to destroy the body to say that it has a head?”.
The importance of this genuinely Catholic approach which is also ecclesiastic in its spiritual end, is this: two people from inside the Church and faith attempt to straighten the orientation of an ecclesiastic rush towards something that is not yet known up to its extreme consequences, but they deem risky from the point of view of the Gospel and Church; and one that is outside of the church and faith, promotes them and defends them as an expression of a revolt of conscience, even cultural or rational, towards a subaltern inclination to the world as it is and not it is required by the holy scripture read in the church and crammed in two thousand years of tradition. The Pope – and it is one of the high points of the story of a faith that Gnocchi and Palmaro wrote with enlightened devotion in the middle of so much obscurantist presumption – does not want the prayers to be said the old way; he wants the prayer to be conscious and personal, subjective. Therefore, he enjoins an altar boy to unstick the joined hands from the daily ceremonial habit. The stunned child does not obey and does not rejoin his hands. The “Paolini” loving the tradition believe that to say prayers as iteration, education and liturgical law is the healthy and living expression of a traditional spiritual world that no one, not even a reigning pontiff, has the right to eradicate and destroy. I never prayed, but my real poetics speak about a plural world of differences, in which the love is not a private feeling bon à tout faire; and it is happy and useful to humanity that institution which is allowed contradicting the idea of a subject that is absolutely free in the name of an objective view of the truth as absolute and reasoning open to the mystery. If God does not exist, everything is possible: Fedor Dostoevskij wrote that, the writer loved by Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Do as if God exists: A German theologian and specialist of the Logos that has stunned the world, wrote it, and was vexed in his worst intellectual and moral vices, with a non-relational idea of the truth. I like a Pope who tries to wedge with camouflage the truth into the abyss of ignorance of the times we live in, but he has to know what are the risks involved in the means that he decided Jesuitically to use (traduzione di Sarah Marion Tuggey).