www.byzcath.org
http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/e...o/ecumenismo-ecumenism-ecumenismo-35400/

“Francis wants to achieve unity also by reforming the papacy”

Francis has nominated the Prior of Bose, Enzo Bianchi, as the consultor of the ecumenical dicastery. He speaks of “synodality and supremacy”, the martyrs of the Middle East and the intelligence of the various denominations in Ukraine

IACOPO SCARAMUZZI
VATICAN CITY

“The Pope plans to reform the papacy and this will benefit relations with the Orthodox,” says the Prior of the monastic community of Bose, Enzo Bianchi. Yesterday Pope Francis appointed Bianchi as one of the new consultors of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Vatican dicastery led by Cardinal Kurt Koch who is in charge of ecumenical matters. The newly appointed cleric welcomed his nomination with surprise (“I didn’t expect it, he hadn’t told me anything”), predicting a synodal evolution of the Catholic Church; he urged Christians around the world not to leave their brothers and sisters in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria, alone and emphasized the fact that the various Christian denominations that exist in Ukraine have managed to avoid a “political immersion”.

“I didn’t expect this nomination, it caught me by surprise,” Enzo Bianchi says. “The Pope received me in audience last 2 July. It was the third time I saw him since the start of the pontificate and I was delighted; we spoke about Church unity and about what needs to be done to promote this unity. But he didn’t speak to me about this nomination.”

Speaking about ecumenism, the Prior of Bose said: “I think the Pope has one main concern: unity is not created with the spirituality of unity, it is a command we must follow as it is Christ’s command. It is a commitment, which he sees as a priority. He sees unity with the Orthodox Church as an urgent goal. I think the Pope wants to achieve unity also through the reform of the papacy. A papacy which his no longer feared, said Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew with whom Francis shares a friendship.” A reform of the papacy means “a new balance between synodality and supremacy. The Orthodox Church exercise synodality not supremacy, we Catholics have papal supremacy but we lack synodality. There can be no synodality without supremacy and there can be no supremacy without synodality. This would help create a new style of papal primacy and episcopal government.” A change like this would be practical: the Synod of Bishops has been around since the Second Vatican Council” and the 9-member Council of Cardinals that advise the Pope on Curia reform was the Pope’s idea. In the future, however, there is the possibility of creating “an episcopal organization that assists the Pope in leading the Church without calling papal primacy into question.”

Enzo Bianchi, who has dedicated his life to ecumenism, drew attention to “the delicate situation” in Ukraine, where Christian communities are fragmented: “It must be said, however, that all Churches, the various Orthodox Churches, Latin Catholics and Greek Catholics have been intelligent enough not to immerse themselves in politics; this demonstrates a better ecclesial awareness than expected.” In terms of the dramatic situation faced by Christians in the Middle East, Enzo Bianchi said “they need to feel the fraternity and solidarity of fellow Christians.” The Prior of Bose reiterated the importance of an ecumenism of the blood, which Pope Francis had stressed: “I am thinking of the Christians in Iraq and Syria: never before have there been as many martyrs as today and they are Christians of all denominations. The blood of all Christians is united beyond theological and dogmatic decisions.”
I read this article and can't make up my mind on it. Pope Francis is someone I can't figure out. Some days he comes across as wise. Other days I am sure he is hopelessly naïve and doesn't realize he is not still in a place in South America most of North America and Europe are not so much aware of.

Unity? Now there's a topic! We could have instant unity if we tossed out all our beliefs and traditions. Would it be worth it? Some would think it is, others not. I am in the "not" camp.
Actually, Pope Francis has a keen sense of history which we in our times tend to overlook.

Dogmas and doctrines also have a cultural context which means that what Protestants and others derided yesterday could be seen in a different light today.

Bl. John Henry Newman said as much in his commentaries on the history of Anglicanism.

Fr. Meyendorff (+ memory eternal!) once wrote about how certain Orthodox theologians in the 17th century turned the other way to the Filioque (would you believe) when there was an agreeable, peace-loving pope in Rome.

There is much truth to the argument that theology must always be accompanied by a social science perspective (history, politics and sociology) in order to move forward on these issues.

This is not introducing relativism, it is only the acknowledgement that people must take into account their own limitations across historical eras.

Alex
Originally Posted by byzanTN

Unity? Now there's a topic! We could have instant unity if we tossed out all our beliefs and traditions. Would it be worth it? Some would think it is, others not. I am in the "not" camp.


Unity, not uniformity.
Here is the problem: "a new balance between synodality and supremacy." Supremacy?

Supremacy is a corruption of primacy. Primacy does not involve power over others, but instead involves a position of guidance among equals. Only the dissolution of the papacy, i.e., as it has existed throughout most of the second millennium, will allow for the restoration of communion.
However, any changes to the Papacy should never be undertaken unilaterally by Rome.

They should only be done in conjunction with Orthodoxy.

Fr. John Meyendorff for one believed that certain RC dogmas could actually be accepted in varied forms by Orthodoxy - but only within the context of their re-presentation at a union council.

Please don't shoot the messenger.

Alex
Originally Posted by byzanTN
I read this article and can't make up my mind on it.

Personally I thought it very good, provided that the reader understands that things are not always as simple as they appear. (For example, does "unity ... is Christ’s command" mean that non-Catholics are commanded to become Catholic?)

Originally Posted by byzanTN
Pope Francis is someone I can't figure out. Some days he comes across as wise. Other days I am sure he is hopelessly naïve and doesn't realize he is not still in a place in South America most of North America and Europe are not so much aware of.

Unity? Now there's a topic! We could have instant unity if we tossed out all our beliefs and traditions. Would it be worth it? Some would think it is, others not. I am in the "not" camp.

Even then, it would be unity only among like-minded people.
Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
However, any changes to the Papacy should never be undertaken unilaterally by Rome.

They should only be done in conjunction with Orthodoxy.

Fr. John Meyendorff for one believed that certain RC dogmas could actually be accepted in varied forms by Orthodoxy - but only within the context of their re-presentation at a union council.

Please don't shoot the messenger.

Alex


I can go for this
Orthodox would agree that the papacy needs changing but probably not the Church!
Christ is in our midst!!

I think that Rome is tone deaf when it comes to this topic. I think Fr. Robert Taft's article about what we can realistically achieve should be mandatory reading for anyone who wants to approach this idea. Father said that all we can realistically expect or achieve is "communion" again--something that is not administrative unity as Rome would understand it. I think it would be somewhat along the lines that I've stated in other threads and something that bewilders most Catholics.

Bob
Within Orthodoxy, we have been squabbling for centuries post schism as to the meaning of primacy within Orthodoxy itself. Regular dust ups occur between the "second and third Romes as they vie for Orthodoxy' s "first chair", so thinking the east would ever consent to even a "watered down" concept of"supremacy" or "universal jurisdiction" is hopelessly naive. Union would never mean one church "coming under" another....
Originally Posted by DMD
thinking the east would ever consent to even a "watered down" concept of"supremacy" or "universal jurisdiction" is hopelessly naive.

True. I've also noticed a consistent pattern among the Catholics in question: Usually they will start with the idea that all non-Catholic Christians are basically the same (their non-Catholicness is their primary attribute, right? wink ); then after whatever length of time, they come to see that Orthodox are different than protestants, at which point they will do a complete 180 (or so it would appear to be on the surface) and convince themselves that the Orthodox Churches are right on the verge of coming into union with Rome; then after whatever length of time, they come to see that that isn't likely to happen in days, years, or even decades -- after which they are all about railing against the pride/stubbornness/disobedience/whatever that supposedly keep the Orthodox from Catholicism. (I could be mistaken, but I believe I've even seen one such Catholics assert that Orthodox love the schism.)
Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Actually, Pope Francis has a keen sense of history which we in our times tend to overlook.


Do you think? I'd like to hear more. I'm not seeing this at all.
Originally Posted by Peter J
I've even seen one such Catholics assert that Orthodox love the schism.)


Do you mean you've never seen any Orthodox assert this? Obviously the world is full of fools and blowhards who mustn't be taken too seriously, but there is a very vocal strain of Orthodoxy that is very concerned with being the biggest fish in a tiny pond.
Dear JDC,

Yes, I do think.

His understanding of the role the great historic saints he has canonized thus far, as one example, tells me he lives history in contemporary times e.g. St Pierre Favre, St Francois Laval, St Marie of the Incarnation.

However, I'd like to know momre about what you are or are not seeing in this regard.

Alex
Dear JDC,

It's not that they "love the schism" only that they reject that authentic ecclesial unity is to be found in union with RCism in contemporary times.

It's funny, but there are traditionalist RC's who would agree with them.

Alex
Originally Posted by JDC
Originally Posted by Peter J
I've even seen one such Catholics assert that Orthodox love the schism.)

Do you mean you've never seen any Orthodox assert this?

I wouldn't say that was what I meant, but now that you mention it yes I have heard a couple of Orthodox assert that Orthodox love the schism (although it should be noted that one of the people who said it later left Orthodoxy).

Originally Posted by JDC
Obviously the world is full of fools and blowhards who mustn't be taken too seriously, but there is a very vocal strain of Orthodoxy that is very concerned with being the biggest fish in a tiny pond.

Well, it's not like I would immediately think of the Orthodox if I was on a quest (for whatever reason) for people who are "very concerned with being the biggest fish in a tiny pond", but yes, I imagine you can find some such people among the 200,000,000+ Orthodox.

In my humble opinion, this conversation has taken a weird turn.
Quote

Do you think? I'd like to hear more. I'm not seeing this at all.


I don't see it either. But as I know, dear Alex of whom I think highly, generally holds the recent popes in higher regard than do I. He even thinks they were/are saints, which many agree with. I would say some of the post Vatican II popes were saintly, but their greatest gift was for shooting themselves in the foot, along with the rest of us by association.
Well, I mean, obviously they *are* Saints, being canonized. But that's an increasingly cheap designation (the validity of which I do not question for a second). But then, I feel nearly the same certainty that my grandmother is a saint in heaven. I just have trouble conceiving any reason why the Church would want to codify that or propose her as a Christian model.

Leaving aside the canonization machine, when it comes to Pope Francis, his acts and words are not consistent for anybody to ascribe motive or judge wisdom or intellect, I think. Being nice seems to be his main thing.

As for Catholic jerks and Orthodox jerks, I guess my only point is that there are lots of jerks. Best not to worry too much about them.
I used to argue with my religion teachers at the Catholic high school I attended on the question of saints.

There are, of course, many uncanonized saints, including those we have known in our families and among our friends. We are entitled to invoke them in our private or family prayers, to be sure.

Canonization/Glorification is another matter, of course, and has to do with the saints' relation to the entire Body of Christ in a very public way. Nothing of a "cheap designation" about that.

As for the canonization machine, such a machine would not need to exist if Rome, among other things, returned to the earlier practice of allowing local Bishops and Primates to canonize/beatify their own local worthies. Even after Urban VIII, we know that such local canonizations continued to occur throughout the Western Church (e.g. Blessed Duns Scotus).

Traditionalist RC's are generally horrified at this notion, so they parrot the notion that there are too many saints being made, ignoring, at the same time, that these are, for the most part, local beati whose raising to the altars simply allows the Local Church a voice and the ability to liturgically venerate those whom it has a greater familiarity with than any centralized Roman machine.

As for the jerks thing, I agree!

Alex
I'm not going to quibble about the Saintomatic VII. As far as I'm concerned, canonizing all the popes who presided over the present crisis is obviously a stunt aimed at self-justification, and not a genuine measure of particular sanctity.
Quibbling is not good at any time.

But I would be interested in your making your own views about the post-Vatican II popes known so I, for one, know exactly where you're coming from.

Perhaps you'd rather not do that - in that case, we don't have a real conversation going.

As a sociologist, I appreciate your point about how canonizing recent popes is a way to affirm the post-Vatican II policies.

But as someone committed to my faith, I'd like to know what you find distasteful re: those same policies. I've my own views and have made them known here on more than on one occasion.

I've my own reasons for venerating St John XXIII and St John Paul II.

At the same time, I'm wondering about how any Catholic (and I'm truly wondering, rather than judging) may think disparagingly (iin any way) about the Catholic Church since Vatican II.

Those are the points I think you are raising without defining from within your own context. Those are the points I think would be very interesting to talk about.

Otherwise, we're just doing a futile exercise in yanking each other's chains.

Alex
Okay, well I take Vatican 2 seriously where it says the liturgy is the source and summit of the Christian life, and the font from which all the Church's power flows, but the liturgy in the RC church has been a joke since shortly after Vatican 2 said these things. Episcopal appointments have been terrifyingly bad. Pope St. John Paul II frequently contradicted himself and by his liturgical practices encouraged the ongoing abuse of the liturgy, and Pope Paul VI, of happy memory (if they have canonized him, I neglect this unintentionally) surrounded himself with bad advisors, not in the sense that the advice, but the men, were bad. Neither one addressed with any efficacy the problems of their times. They were both apparently nice people, loved, and terrible leaders. We could scarcely have sailed under captains less well suited to the weather. The entire era has been a catastrophe. They have presided over a monumental decline and fed us platitudes about springtime while it was happening. At least Nero's fiddle music might have been enjoyed.
Dear JDC,

OK, fair enough! I can't say that I disagree with you on anything you've outlined here so very articulately.

Pope Paul VI will be beatified in October. I'm actually very happy about that too!

Isn't being Catholic wonderful? smile

Pax et bonum,

Alex
Quote

Pope Paul VI will be beatified in October. I'm actually very happy about that too!


That is almost enough to make one consider becoming Orthodox! LOL.

Quote
Isn't being Catholic wonderful? smile


I am still thinking about that one!
Be careful, Charles!

If you do "Dox," someone may open up a thread here about you . . . smile

I think being Catholic is wonderful!! grin

Alex
Originally Posted by byzanTN
Quote
Pope Paul VI will be beatified in October. I'm actually very happy about that too!

That is almost enough to make one consider becoming Orthodox! LOL.

A little surprised to hear you say that; but then, I suppose there isn't any Pope (practically) who is looked upon favorably by everyone.
I don't know why you are surprised. Paul VI was essentially driven away from the Vatican by Pius XII who considered him dangerous. Pius XII - the one who actually should be canonized - was correct. The aged and ill John XXIII convened a council with little preparation, that he couldn't control and didn't live to finish. Surely, Paul VI was a punishment on the Church. He waffled, blew left and right with every wind, was weak, vacillating and was a wretched administrator. What authority he inherited, he squandered away and chaos ruled through his pontificate.

I will agree that Paul VI may have been a holy individual, but he was a bungling and inept leader.
Maybe the canonization is more about "see, we only screwed up this bad... think about how much worse it could have been without the Holy Spirit!"
Quote
Maybe the canonization is more about "see, we only screwed up this bad... think about how much worse it could have been without the Holy Spirit!"


Interesting possibility! I hadn't thought of that.
Originally Posted by byzanTN
I don't know why you are surprised. Paul VI was essentially driven away from the Vatican by Pius XII who considered him dangerous. Pius XII - the one who actually should be canonized - was correct. The aged and ill John XXIII convened a council with little preparation, that he couldn't control and didn't live to finish. Surely, Paul VI was a punishment on the Church. He waffled, blew left and right with every wind, was weak, vacillating and was a wretched administrator. What authority he inherited, he squandered away and chaos ruled through his pontificate.


You sound like you're in the "know", and it frightens me that you are serious.
I posted the wrong quote here. I meant to respond to the post about being, "in the know."

I am old enough to have seen all these things develop, and the results from them. I was 15 when Vatican II ended, and followed it closely even then, as did many others. It was fascinating and was a time of hope. The hope may not have lived up to the hype. When Paul VI complained about the "Smoke of Satan" entering the Church, I remember thinking, "yes, and you held the door open while he entered."
I somehow can't imagine that God would have allowed Satan to enter the Church by way of Pope Paul VI.

He has ample means of entering the Church as it is. But we have the Lord's promise that the gates of hell will not PREVAIL against His Church.

If WE, I mean all of us who are Catholics, cannot accept that, then we really aren't where we should be, Church-wise.

But we shouldn't idealize the Orthodox Churches in this respect either.

Alex
There is no perfect place on earth, Alex. At least I haven't found it yet. Paul VI was a naïve when it came to human nature. He talked about man having reached a new stage where he no longer needed strictures on him to get him to do the right things, and on and on. I think he actually believed that. While Paul VI complained about the loss of faith, he systematically dismantled the machinery that had been put in place by his predecessors to prevent the loss of faith. The result was predictable. But keep in mind Paul VI was a diplomat, not a pastor.
Originally Posted by byzanTN
I don't know why you are surprised. Paul VI was essentially driven away from the Vatican by Pius XII who considered him dangerous.

Well that's certainly news to me ... are you sure you haven't been listening to Orthodox propoganda? wink

(Actually my first thought was "I can picture our present pope driving someone away from the Vatican" but I know that's not the kind of driving you mean.)
Originally Posted by byzanTN
While Paul VI complained about the loss of faith, he systematically dismantled the machinery that had been put in place by his predecessors to prevent the loss of faith.


And what, pray tell, was the machinery that prevented the loss of faith that this venerable pope systematically dismantled? I think the great loss of faith that occurred at this time had more to do with the social upheavals that we're swirling about the western world at this time rather than anything this holy and discerning pope did or did not do. Monastic and convent walls just could not keep out the groundswell. If you had been a bit older, as I am, you would have felt the surge a little more keenly than a fifteen year old can or should; or perhaps I'm underestimating the level of maturity you possessed in 1965.
I don't read any of the Latin Trad stuff since I am not even Latin. The story goes that Montini as a diplomat was in dialogue with persons Pius XII disapproved of so Pius removed him from the Curia and shipped him off to be Archbishop of Milan (1955). For a diplomat involved in the highest levels of the Vatican state department, that must have been a blow to him.
[quote]And what, pray tell, was the machinery that prevented the loss of faith that this venerable pope systematically dismantled?/quote]

Start with the Holy Office and all the prohibitions earlier popes had enacted to keep Catholics a bit safer in a world hostile to Christianity. What Pius X had enacted to thwart Modernism, Paul VI systematically undid. Note that I did indicate he was a holy individual, just not an effective leader or pope. Don't dismiss 15 year olds. The opposite end of that is forgetfulness - may we never get there. LOL.

Note: A correction. I was 18 in 1965 and I misspoke - mis-wrote, etc. I was 15 when the council started in 1962.

I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on Paul VI.
Well, agree or not about Archbishop Montini, you have to admit that the archdiocese of St. Ambrose is a pretty prestigious church, and it was his elevation to this see that led to his receiving the Cardinal's hat, and ultimately made him "papabile" whether Pope Pius XII liked the people he conversed with or not. By any standard, he was an astute, intelligent and extremely humble man. He knelt down and kissed the foot of an Orthodox prelate and was the first pope to cast aside the trappings of a monarchical papacy;the first to have his coffined body laid on the ground in St. Peter's Square. I love and revere this holy man, and pray that he bring you the enlightenment you might discover for a new and fresher perspective.
Inept administrators and shepherds whose flocks have been eaten by wolves need patron saints too.
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Inept administrators and shepherds whose flocks have been eaten by wolves need patron saints too.


Amen to that! Sometimes holy people don't make good administrators or leaders. Their holiness blinds them to the practical and causes them to look for good in situations and people which is not there. Some holy individuals, like Paul VI, don't seem to be able to see the logical and predictable consequences of their actions.
My own ambivalence with respect to Paul VI comes primarily from reflection on the state of the Roman rite liturgy, which has to be laid in large measure, though not totally, at his feet. I think the post-Vatican II period has been a different experience for the Eastern and Western "halves" of the Catholic Church. Vatican II was certainly good for the Eastern Churches, with the path of delatinization and recovery of authentic Eastern patrimony explicitly encouraged at the highest levels. At the same time, in the West, the liturgical patrimony of the Roman rite, and with it the other Latin rites of some regions and religious orders, was all but destroyed, and in some places with an iconoclastic zeal that is disconcerting.

And this is not a language issue - I think the vernacular should have come into the Roman rite ages ago, and Pope Paul was right to permit it. Characteristically, the "liturgy wars" in the West have focused almost entirely on Mass; comparatively, Mass changed little, though there are definite differences in the officially promulgated rite itself. The bigger issue for me is that - literally - every rite of the Roman Church was "reformed" - Divine Office, every sacrament, every blessing, even exorcism (eventually). And it wasn't just a matter of changing "mere externals" - with the exception of Holy Baptism, even the very "sacramental forms" were changed in every sacrament. Certainly some liturgical reforms were needed - they've been needed since at least the 13th century, but Pope Paul's reforms seem on the face of things to far exceed what the conciliar documents actually call for, and coupled with his overt and strangely-optimistic humanism, they are at times suspect.

A lot of the other stuff, particularly dismantling many of the trappings of the papal court, bothers me considerably less, but in addition to the quality of some of the changes, from a practical standpoint, it may have been too much, too fast. The subsequent flurry of heresy, confusion, liturgical nonsense, and frankly, stupidity in many Latin parishes for a long while afterward seems to confirm that. Pope Paul didn't seem to take much concrete action against that kind of nonsense. I know it isn't his job to police every parish in the world, but he couldn't have been ignorant of the state of things, and after the firestorm of dissent following Humanae Vitae, he seemed less interested in combating error.

I've read several biographies of Pope Paul, and I have developed considerable sympathy for him; he inherited a very difficult situation - an in-progress Council that was already much different than any of its predecessors (and which he counseled against having in the first place!); and all this occurring in arguably one of the most socially-tumultuous periods in centuries. I certainly wouldn't have wanted the job!
Dear Charles,

Certainly, I've always thought that the unstated rule with respect to papal choices, that is, alternating between pastoral bishops and Vatican administrators, is a straight-jacket that shouldn't be imposed on conclaves.

The best popes have tended to be those chosen from among the world's bishops.

But you may disagree with me there too! wink

Alex
Originally Posted by byzanTN
[quote]And what, pray tell, was the machinery that prevented the loss of faith that this venerable pope systematically dismantled?/quote]

Start with the Holy Office and all the prohibitions earlier popes had enacted to keep Catholics a bit safer in a world hostile to Christianity. What Pius X had enacted to thwart Modernism, Paul VI systematically undid. Note that I did indicate he was a holy individual, just not an effective leader or pope. Don't dismiss 15 year olds. The opposite end of that is forgetfulness - may we never get there. LOL.

Note: A correction. I was 18 in 1965 and I misspoke - mis-wrote, etc. I was 15 when the council started in 1962.

I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on Paul VI.


Dear Charles,

If anyone has the right to be critical of Pope Paul VI, it is Ukrainian Catholics. Paul VI was quite forceful in his demands of our Cardinal Slipyj that he not only NOT lead the cause for a patriarchate for our Church, but that he also refrain from using the title, and command that his "partisans" (I am and still am, one of them) refrain from calling him "patriarch."

Of course, we EC's have learned to overlook such things and not pay attention . . .

But the fact is that, as someone who grew up Catholic under Pope Paul VI, those times were ones of great spiritual and moral upheaval.

Certainly, Rome tried to negotiate a "deal" with contemporary society along a number of fronts, deals that ultimately didn't work. That isn't new to Roman Catholicism. Traditionally, Rome and her theologians have done that with prevailing philosophies such as Aristotle and the like. St Thomas Aquinas (called the "father of all heretics" by St Bonaventure) was even given to quoting from Rabbi Moses Maimonides.

St Augustine even went so far as to say that the pagan Greek philosophers knew the "true religion" etc.

So things do repeat themselves in Catholic Church history.

Pope Paul VI tried to accommodate as much as he felt he could - and when he believed he could not, he simply stated "this is the way things are, take it or leave it." And many Catholics, imbued with the spirit of worldly liberalism, left it or else ignored him.

Pope Pius XII, great man of God that he was (I venerate him highly as my father worked in an underground Caritas group that rescued Jews during WWII under his protection and orders), was very uncompromising. He was right for his time. I don't know if he would have been right for the sixties. But then again, the argument could be made that no pope would have been.

Alex
Originally Posted by byzanTN
Quote
Inept administrators and shepherds whose flocks have been eaten by wolves need patron saints too.


Amen to that! Sometimes holy people don't make good administrators or leaders. Their holiness blinds them to the practical and causes them to look for good in situations and people which is not there. Some holy individuals, like Paul VI, don't seem to be able to see the logical and predictable consequences of their actions.


Can't say that I disagree with our premise here, sir.

And I'm not saying that I always agreed with Paul VI.

But when he reposed, I was left with the sense of his holiness and his dedication to the Church, whether his decisions were correct or not (who am I to judge him?).

But his liturgical and other decisions were certainly not infallible. Rome can change them.

Alex
One of my priest friends maintained that Paul VI suffered a type of martyrdom over conditions seemingly beyond his control. I don't disagree, but think he wasn't up to the job and didn't have what it took to do it.

I certainly have nothing against holy people or personal holiness. I think, however, that faith has survived because of the leaders who took up the sword and defeated our enemies. Had they been mush-mouthed foot kissers, what remained of the Church would be small and insignificant. That applies to leaders from both East and West.
Very true, Charles, very true!

On a lighter side, a friend of mine who is a university campus chaplain said that Pope Francis wants to visit young Catholics in Korea.

The traditional Catholic media are now reporting that Francis supports "youth-in-Asia . . ."

Alex
I don't know. I kind of though that I had obligations because of who I am, and pointing out that I was weak or ill-suited was no excuse for failing in them. Even if I do pray a lot, I don't think I can be holy unless I fulfill the obligations of my position. Evidently that's just not how it works for popes.
Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic

On a lighter side, a friend of mine who is a university campus chaplain said that Pope Francis wants to visit young Catholics in Korea.

The traditional Catholic media are now reporting that Francis supports "youth-in-Asia . . ."

Alex


Ok. I'll volunteer to be the first to groan.

grin
I certainly think that Pope Francis is pursuing unity by reforming the papacy. To me that has seemed clear from his first public address as the newly elected bishop of Rome. To me it has also seemed equally clear that Pope Benedict provided the principal precedent for that reform. At any rate, I have only mildly strong feelings about my opinion on that question. It isn't so much the express topic of this thread that prompts this response as a couple of the comments that were offered along the way.

byzanTN and JDC, I found both of your comments about personal holiness genuinely surprising. byzanTN, Though I am aware there are plenty of kings on Christian calendars, I don't think I would have ever in a million years been able to produce your sentence--"that faith has survived because of the leaders who took up the sword and defeated our enemies." It's hard for me to get this from the Cross of Christ--where is the stumbling block, the scandal? The wisdom and power of God but foolishness to the Gentiles and so on? Themartyrs are the victors in our story, no? The faith survives by divine power: "some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."

JDC, your claim about efficacy also surprised me. Maybe you're just underlining the importance of living up to our duties--I suppose it's your naming it a condition for holiness that surprised me. That's very different from my own way of looking at it. It just seems to me the sort of thing one sees on evangelical TV programs--you know, some sun-tanned, muscular witness testifying about how his Christian faith changed his life, made him a more successful financial advisor and more attractive to women and so forth. Imagine the Prophet Jeremiah appearing on the show! A success? Jonah? Effective? The Little Flower? Accomplished? Moses? To me, the canon of the saints is a catalog of worldly failures. Some were even great failures in religious life.

I know my comments are a little beside the point of the thread. I don't mean to change the subject--I just felt the need to reply on those two counts.

Caleb

Are you named after King Caleb? wink

I won't tell you whom I'm named after . . .

Alexander
Originally Posted by eastwardlean?
JDC, your claim about efficacy also surprised me. Maybe you're just underlining the importance of living up to our duties--I suppose it's your naming it a condition for holiness that surprised me. That's very different from my own way of looking at it. It just seems to me the sort of thing one sees on evangelical TV programs--you know, some sun-tanned, muscular witness testifying about how his Christian faith changed his life, made him a more successful financial advisor and more attractive to women and so forth. Imagine the Prophet Jeremiah appearing on the show! A success? Jonah? Effective? The Little Flower? Accomplished? Moses? To me, the canon of the saints is a catalog of worldly failures. Some were even great failures in religious life.


I think perhaps, Caleb, that you have taken what I wrote an read a great deal into it. Failing while trying is one thing. I am obligated to protect my children, for instance. If I fail to protect them from the tiger which has just eaten me it is different from outrunning them and leaving them to the wolves.
Caleb, God helps those who help themselves. I think saying something like, "Don't throw that rock at me Mohammed, you hurt my feelings and wound my self esteem. Let me kiss your foot." is kind of ridiculous. Nowhere does God tell us we can't defend ourselves or our faith, families, and culture. Political correctness is going to kill us all!
Alex,

I am named for the Caleb of the Bible, who was certainly not any more of a 'mush-mouthed foot kisser' than the king that I think you're referring to. smile (Who is after all venerated for his military intervention in defense of the Christians in a nearby country.)

byzanTN, I'm not arguing for political correctness. But I'm concerned that your rejection of it may end up pushing against something more important. I agree--by all means, we should do what we can in defense of our brothers. But let's not pretend we're saving the Church or that the Church depends on our victories. Indeed the Church may well depend on our defeats. History is opaque, God's purpose is often hidden but we know how the story ends. God's kingdom will come but it won't be built by hands.

JDC, Fair enough. think I said as much in my reply to you--I said 'maybe you're just underlining the importance of living up to our duties.' But being bad at being pope isn't quite the same thing as running away from the tiger and leaving your kids behind, is it? That's all I'm saying--I don't think holiness is the same as being good at things, even good things. Sometimes it can mean not even being good at holy things. You may think that Pope Paul made a mess of things and you may even be right but let's not dismiss his sanctity because of it.

At any rate, as I said, my comments are marginal to this discussion. I imagine you can probably agree with what I said in principle. I don't have anything more on either count.

Caleb
I love that name!!

Alex
Originally Posted by byzanTN
Caleb, God helps those who help themselves. I think saying something like, "Don't throw that rock at me Mohammed, you hurt my feelings and wound my self esteem. Let me kiss your foot." is kind of ridiculous. Nowhere does God tell us we can't defend ourselves or our faith, families, and culture. Political correctness is going to kill us all!

I agree. It is one thing if a person decides to accept martyrdom rather than fight back against an unjust aggressor. He has the ability to offer his own life in that manner and forego his legitimate right to self-defense. But it is quite another thing when a person has been made a guardian of others, because then he must defend those in his care. He does not have the right to choose martyrdom for those who are dependent upon him. In fact, he has a duty, a moral obligation, to defend those in his care from harm, even if he must use force (i.e., lethal force) in order to protect those who rely upon him for their safety.
I don't think the Church's modern ecumenism is even directed at bringing non-Catholics into the confines of the Catholic Church. We are not talking about a cold and calculating "uniformity" of worship rites or other external traditions. We are talking about unity in the essential beliefs, the Faith and Tradition. And proponents of ecumenism don't even seem to treat that as vital anymore. Anyone who defends it is now a Pharisee.

Remember, this was Pope Francis' reported comments in June 2014 to major Evangelical leaders in Rome:

Quote
I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.


Has the Vatican denied it? Have the Evangelical leaders retracted this claim? As far as I am aware, no. So, why can't all Christians who profess Jesus as Lord come and partake of the Eucharist? Can we become Orthodox or Anglican, as long as we all show Jesus' love to the world?

Really, I am not being snide, I do not intend to be divisive. I am genuinely confused. What is the Catholic Church's "raison d'etre" in the 21st Century?
Originally Posted by BenjaminRH
What is the Catholic Church's "raison d'etre" in the 21st Century?

Isn't our raison d'etre to convince EOs, OOs, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, etc. to become Catholic?

Ohhhhhh ... Sorry, never mind. blush
Originally Posted by BenjaminRH
I don't think the Church's modern ecumenism is even directed at bringing non-Catholics into the confines of the Catholic Church. We are not talking about a cold and calculating "uniformity" of worship rites or other external traditions. We are talking about unity in the essential beliefs, the Faith and Tradition. And proponents of ecumenism don't even seem to treat that as vital anymore. Anyone who defends it is now a Pharisee.

Remember, this was Pope Francis' reported comments in June 2014 to major Evangelical leaders in Rome:

Quote
I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.


Has the Vatican denied it? Have the Evangelical leaders retracted this claim? As far as I am aware, no. So, why can't all Christians who profess Jesus as Lord come and partake of the Eucharist? Can we become Orthodox or Anglican, as long as we all show Jesus' love to the world?

Really, I am not being snide, I do not intend to be divisive. I am genuinely confused. What is the Catholic Church's "raison d'etre" in the 21st Century?


You shouldn't be confused at all here. You are reading much more into the pope's words than anyone intended.

At no time did the pope make the suggestion you are making with respect to the Eucharist.

The pope is simply telling the truth - that Evangelicalism and Catholicism are just too far apart. To acknowledge this FACT is to say that we shouldn't be doing what ecumenists have tried to do for decades - water down the Catholic faith to the level of Evangelicalism so we can all say "we are one" and call it a day.

Thank God the pope is not for that! No confusion there.

The Russian Orthodox Church has taken the same stance. It does NOT want to talk unity with Catholicism, but it wants to work with Catholics on moral issues etc.

No confusion there at all.

As Christians, we should be witnessing Christ to the world - together and without watering down our Catholic faith in so doing.

As for the Eucharist - how about if the Latin Catholic Church got to work to reform itself with respect to Communion in the hand and reverence for the Eucharist? That would really show that she is who she says she is.

As Bishop Schneider wrote in the book I referenced in the book section, Communion in the hand etc. came from Calvinism i.e. the denial of the Real Presence.

Why doesn't the Latin Church first fix that internal thing before worrying about "converting" others?

Alex
Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by BenjaminRH
What is the Catholic Church's "raison d'etre" in the 21st Century?

Isn't our raison d'etre to convince EOs, OOs, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, etc. to become Catholic?

Ohhhhhh ... Sorry, never mind. blush


How about if we took the approach that we are all diminished by our divisions and that there just might be something we can all learn from one another.

The Roman Catholic Church has all kinds of internal problems that Catholics don't seem to want to seriously deal with because that effort might undermine the view that "we are the true church."

Today, if I had the choice to be either a Latin Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox/Oriental Orthodox, I would definitely become EO/OO.

For one thing, the East, not in union with Rome (if I were EO, I'd say that Rome was out of communion with the true Church re: heresy) has a tremendous sense of mystery and knows how to honour/adore the Great and Terrible God, the Lord of Hosts.

The Latin Church is sadly lacking in that in many places.

And the recent popes were/are aware of that.

Alex
Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
Originally Posted by Peter J
Originally Posted by BenjaminRH
What is the Catholic Church's "raison d'etre" in the 21st Century?

Isn't our raison d'etre to convince EOs, OOs, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, etc. to become Catholic?

Ohhhhhh ... Sorry, never mind. blush


How about if we took the approach that we are all diminished by our divisions and that there just might be something we can all learn from one another.

The Roman Catholic Church has all kinds of internal problems that Catholics don't seem to want to seriously deal with because that effort might undermine the view that "we are the true church."

Today, if I had the choice to be either a Latin Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox/Oriental Orthodox, I would definitely become EO/OO.

For one thing, the East, not in union with Rome (if I were EO, I'd say that Rome was out of communion with the true Church re: heresy) has a tremendous sense of mystery and knows how to honour/adore the Great and Terrible God, the Lord of Hosts.

The Latin Church is sadly lacking in that in many places.

And the recent popes were/are aware of that.

Alex


You know, I've been keeping your insights in word documents. You and some others speak with a candor needing to be said. I think this is something my friend and I will discuss, over drinks - God willing!
Originally Posted by Orthodox Catholic
How about if we took the approach that we are all diminished by our divisions and that there just might be something we can all learn from one another.

That would be nice, but sadly there seem to be many, on another website I participate on, who don't think Catholics have anything to learn from other Christians (or, in their language, from "non-Catholic religions").

Quote
Today, if I had the choice to be either a Latin Catholic or an Eastern Orthodox/Oriental Orthodox, I would definitely become EO/OO.

My first thought here is, I wonder what the Orthodox think about that ... but then I think, maybe I actually don't want to know.
Originally Posted by JDC
I don't know. I kind of though that I had obligations because of who I am, and pointing out that I was weak or ill-suited was no excuse for failing in them. Even if I do pray a lot, I don't think I can be holy unless I fulfill the obligations of my position. Evidently that's just not how it works for popes.


Christ is in our midst!!

Failure is not a problem; fallingshort is not a problem; giving up is a problem. It gives us a reminder that we need the help of the Lord. Otherwise we might fall into the trap of thinking that our achievements are our own; they are not--they are the result of our being cooperative vessels through which the Holy Spirit can work in specific situations.

Holiness is not perfection. It is a balance wherein we are "whole" because we accept who we are, are comfortable in our own skin, realize that we need to continue the struggle toward perfecting ourselves in the virtues and the demands of the Lord on us, and always seeking the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit in each and every moment. It is a challenge to be always ready to be out of our comfort zone because growth does that.

Bob
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