Pope on the plane

Here are some excerpts from CNS’s Rome correspondent Cindy Wooden about the Pope’s 80 minute q&a with journalists aboard the plane from Rio back to Rome.

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM BRAZIL – Pope Francis said he was responding to the clear wishes of the College of Cardinals when he set up commissions to study the Vatican bank, Vatican financial and administrative procedures and the reform of the Roman Curia.

The Pope also said he knows people have spoken about some kind of “gay lobby” at the Vatican protecting certain priests by threatening to blackmail others. The Pope said the “lobbying” is what is worrisome.

-snip-

Addressing the issue of the gay lobby, Pope Francis said it was important to “distinguish between a person who is gay and someone who makes a gay lobby,” he said. “A gay lobby isn’t good.”

“A gay person who is seeking God, who is of good will — well, who am I to judge him?” the Pope said. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this very well. It says one must not marginalize these persons, they must be integrated into society. The problem isn’t this (homosexual) orientation — we must be like brothers and sisters. The problem is something else, the problem is lobbying either for this orientation or a political lobby or a Masonic lobby.”

From John Allen Jr.’s lengthy report at the National Catholic Reporter:

 

The Ricca case

“I did what canon law requires, which is to conduct a preliminary investigation. We didn’t find anything to confirm the things he was accused of, there was nothing. … I’d like to add that many times we seem to seek out the sins of somebody’s youth and publish them. We’re not talking about crimes, which are something else. The abuse of minors, for instance, is a crime. But one can sin and then convert, and the Lord both forgives and forgets. We don’t have the right to refuse to forget … it’s dangerous. The theology of sin is important. St. Peter committed one of the greatest sins, denying Christ, and yet they made him pope. Think about that.”

 

There’s more on divorce and remarriage; women and the Church; the charismatic movement inside the Catholic Church and other topics.

I look forward to seeing a transcript of the full 80 minutes and until I see it I will reserve judgment.

How many of you have been following the Ricca case?

This is interesting:  “But one can sin and then convert, and the Lord both forgives and forgets.”

Yet on Ricca the Pope said, “We didn’t find anything to confirm the things he was accused of, there was nothing.”

So … was someone making up dirt about this priest?

Or was someone digging up something from his past to damage him because now he is a sincere, repentant convert, the Mary Magdelene of the homosexual world?

Or?   I hope and pray it is one of the above for the sake of the Pope.  But sadly, Sandro Magister has a great deal of credibility as a journalist which he has now staked his career on.

And elsewhere Sandro Magister, who broke the story about Msgr. Ricca, has this story that has raised concerns:

For the First Time, Francis Contradicts Benedict

He has touched upon the sore spot of the Mass in the ancient rite. Ratzinger permitted its celebration for all. Bergoglio has prohibited it for one religious order that favored it

 

Damian Thompson has some interesting observations:

Actually, I don’t think the Pope intended to criticise his predecessor, and he is not changing Catholic teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual acts. But there’s no doubt that he’s presenting it in a more relaxed manner, and he’s moving the Church away from its recent position – formulated amid panic over sex abuse – that celibate gay men pose too much of a risk to be ordained. That was a ridiculous and insulting stance which, if it were enforced retrospectively, would leave parishes all over the world without a priest.

As for the liturgy, there’s no doubt that Francis’s style is more informal than Benedict’s, and he isn’t a fan of the beautiful classical rubrics of the pro-conciliar Church. That’s a shame and it’s worrying to learn that he has imposed restrictions on the celebration of the Old Rite on a Franciscan community that had adopted it wholesale.

On the other hand… what if Francis succeeds in decontaminating the Catholic brand?

 

What I am uncomfortable in Damian Thompson’s analysis is talking about celibate gay men as if “gay” is another kind of category similar to one’s sex, male or female.

I have a friend who is a former gay activist.  He used to refer to himself as a gay Catholic after he had become a Catholic.  But he then began to understand that he is a man, a man with same sex attraction.  He has since married a woman and they have a ministry to Catholics with same sex attraction or for families and friends of those with same sex attraction.

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12 Responses to Pope on the plane

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    From your last quotation: That’s a shame and it’s worrying to learn that he has imposed restrictions on the celebration of the Old Rite on a Franciscan community that had adopted it wholesale.

    Following the link within this quotation, I found the following very significant detail (boldface added).

    They want to be faithful to tradition, in full respect for the magisterium of the Church. So much so that in their communities they celebrate Masses both in the ancient rite and in the modern rite, as moreover do hundreds of religious communities around the world – the Benedictines of Norcia, to give just one example – applying the spirit and the letter of the motu proprio “Summorum Pontificum” of Benedict XVI.

    But precisely this was contested by a core group of internal dissidents, who appealed to the Vatican authorities complaining of the excessive propensity of their congregation to celebrate the Mass in the ancient rite, with the effect of creating exclusion and opposition within the communities, of undermining internal unity and, worse, of weakening the more general “sentire cum Ecclesia.”

    The Vatican authorities responded by sending an apostolic visitor one year ago. And now comes the appointment of the commissioner.

    In other words, the complaint was that the excessive use of the Tridentine form of the liturgy was causing major rifts within the order. The fact that the Vatican dispatched an “apostolic visitor” to investigate such allegations is very clear indication that the Vatican found the details provided in the original allegations to be substantial, and the appointment of a “commissioner” is pretty clear indication that the “apostolic visitor” found plenty of evidence that the matter had become very serious. The Vatican does not appoint commissioners to oversee the internal affairs of a religious order with any regularity.

    That said, one wonders how the fissures within the order came about.

    >> Perhaps those who prefer the Tridentine form of the liturgy were refusing to participate in conventual liturgies of their communities celebrated according to the ordinary form, thus effectively creating a clique within the community.

    >> Perhaps those who prefer the Tridentine form of the liturgy were displaying an air of superiority and acting with condescension and arrogance toward the other members and even toward the legitimate superiors.

    Not that ardent Traditionalists would ever do this sort of thing, would they?

    No, at least not on days that don’t end in “y”….

    Here, I should also point out that the timeline of “one year ago” puts the apostolic visitation squarely during the tenure of Pope Benedict XVI. One cannot blame Pope Francis for instigating this. Rather, he merely acted on the recommendation of Pope Benedict’s apostolic visitor — and there is absolutely no reason to presume that Pope Benedict XVI would have acted differently if he had received the same report. The allegation that it is somehow a first step toward a withdrawal of Summorum pontificam is completely unwarranted and not supported by the plain facts.

    Norm.

    • victor2378 says:

      Norm,
      you say: “.

      >> Perhaps those who prefer the Tridentine form of the liturgy were refusing to participate in conventual liturgies of their communities celebrated according to the ordinary form, thus effectively creating a clique within the community.”

      The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate are a Religious Order, and the leadership of this order has (had) authority and could rightfully claim obedience. If they decreed that the internal celeberations of the order will be following the Older Form of the Roman Rite, there simply WERE NO CONVENTUAL LITURGIES CELEBRATED ACCORDING TO THE ORDINARY FORM, or if they were, they were illicit. Perhaps this change was introduced with less delicacy than possible, but the points you propose are simply moot.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Victor,

        You quoted from my post: >> Perhaps those who prefer the Tridentine form of the liturgy were refusing to participate in conventual liturgies of their communities celebrated according to the ordinary form, thus effectively creating a clique within the community.”

        Then you replied: The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate are a Religious Order, and the leadership of this order has (had) authority and could rightfully claim obedience. If they decreed that the internal celeberations of the order will be following the Older Form of the Roman Rite, there simply WERE NO CONVENTUAL LITURGIES CELEBRATED ACCORDING TO THE ORDINARY FORM, or if they were, they were illicit.

        That is a very big “IF.” I see nothing anywhere indicating that the superiors of the order had issued such a decree.

        Norm.

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  3. EPMS says:

    Regarding “same sex attraction”, I think it would be preferable to counsel those who have objectively disordered desires that they must forego sexual activity and live celibate lives, rather than encouraging them to go through the charade of (heterosexual) marriage. I know at least a dozen people who married despite the fact that their primary attraction was not to the opposite sex. Twenty-five or thirty years ago this was common; sometimes the person was in denial about his/her sexuality, sometimes it was acknowledged, without an appreciation of the full implications. In every instance the consequences were disasterous. The otherwise attracted spouse “fell off the wagon”, or their spouse met someone who let them experience what it is like to not be “second best”. Or they stayed faithful, but one or other became an alcoholic or a chronic depressive. At best, it became a marriage of convenience with the inevitable undercurrent of anger and disappointment.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Regarding “same sex attraction”, I think it would be preferable to counsel those who have objectively disordered desires that they must forego sexual activity and live celibate lives, rather than encouraging them to go through the charade of (heterosexual) marriage.

      Yes, I agree completely!

      If the Church is truly the guardian of the sacraments, we need to take that role much more seriously with respect to the sacrament of marriage — and that means actively stopping people who either do not intend or lack the capacity to fulfill the essential obligations of Christian marriage from celebrating the sacrament. We now use extensive psychological (and other) screening to weed out unsuitable candidates for ordination and for membership in religious orders. For the sacrament of marriage, the bar should be just as high.

      And in this regard, homosexuality is far from the only issue. I have seen more than a few cases in which marriages have lasted less than a year due to physical violence (battering), immaturity and unrealistic expectations, etc., on the part of one or the other of the parties. I believe that competent psychological screening would have identified the tendency toward violence of the culpable parties and the other issues that cause so many marriages to fail. It also would not be unreasonable to set a higher age for sacramental marriage in modern society. Canon law requires that candidates for ordination be at least twenty-five years old. Is someone who lacks the maturity to be a member of the clergy nevertheless fit to be a parent?

      Norm.

      • Stephen K says:

        Norm, your idea for more stringent permission to marry is in my view very praiseworthy. But it is not quite as easy as vetting for priesthood or religious life, because the Church expects very different things from clerics, religious and lay. Clerics or religious can begin imitating and living a substantial portion of the priestly or religious life by some years in seminary or novitiate and junior scholasticates – a kind of try before you buy, but laity must keep hands off, refrain from any form of cohabitation or couple-independence, and in short everything that really puts ‘waking-up’ reality or the complexity of emotional relationship with another person of the opposite sex to the test. Either we have to admit that none of us are ever ready or mature enough to marry but marriage with guidance can mould us into a deeper joy, or we have to admit that the marriage expectations and doctrines of the Church are unrealistic. There is an inconsistency here. We do of course have to grapple with the concept of responsibility – it kicks in at some point, but for some things at different times than others. We are as responsible as we think we are at any given time but clearly, with maturity and experience and mistakes we are more responsible now than we were!! These are reasons why I don’t think there is ever any foolproof way of ensuring that every ordination or marriage ceremony is valid, perfect, final or indicative of anything but acquiescence or decision of the day. When young ordinands walk out, their learning how or whether to be a priest in a sense continues; when young couples walk down the aisle, their learning how to be married in a much larger sense just begins.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Stephen,

        You wrote: Clerics or religious can begin imitating and living a substantial portion of the priestly or religious life by some years in seminary or novitiate and junior scholasticates – a kind of try before you buy, but laity must keep hands off, refrain from any form of cohabitation or couple-independence, and in short everything that really puts ‘waking-up’ reality or the complexity of emotional relationship with another person of the opposite sex to the test.

        Ah, yes and no. Actually, there is nothing that prohibits a couple contemplating marriage from sharing a home for some period of time to test their relationship and their ability to live together. The only moral dictate — and I emphasize that this is a matter or Natural Law, and thus universal morality, rather than a theological matter, and thus properly applies even to people who are not Christians — is to abstain from sexual acts until they ratify their marriage through the exchange of vows.

        On the other side of this issue, it’s not reasonable to expect people who barely know one another to give meaningful consent to marriage. Rather, each must get to know the other — and this entails some level of intimacy, albeit within proper moral bounds.

        You wrote: Either we have to admit that none of us are ever ready or mature enough to marry but marriage with guidance can mould us into a deeper joy, or we have to admit that the marriage expectations and doctrines of the Church are unrealistic.

        I’m not convinced. We do know, statistically, that marriages in modern western culture between two people over the age of thirty (30) have a much higher rate of success than marriages between two people who are under the age of thirty (30). There are probably several reasons for this, but they all translate to the maturity and the stability of the individuals in terms of personal development, profession, personal finance, relationships, community involvement, and other aspects of their lives. For many young people today, college is not a time to “grow up” but rather a protracted party that, for many, delays the process of really growing up and becoming established in life, with the consequence that the maturing that my grandparents’ generation, many of whom left school after eighth grade, experienced in their teens and that my parents’ generation, few of whom went to college, experienced in the years after high school now does not happen until young people are well into their twenties. Without that maturing, there is little hope for a marriage to succeed.

        You wrote: These are reasons why I don’t think there is ever any foolproof way of ensuring that every ordination or marriage ceremony is valid, perfect, final or indicative of anything but acquiescence or decision of the day. When young ordinands walk out, their learning how or whether to be a priest in a sense continues; when young couples walk down the aisle, their learning how to be married in a much larger sense just begins.

        I agree that the process never will be perfect, but I think that it can be much better than it is.

        Norm.

  4. Stephen says:

    Fr Ray Blake (marymagdalen.blogspot.co.uk), himself an enthusiastic proponent of the EF, has a different take on the FFI matter. While he professes no inside knowledge, the information he has gathered from the internet and elsewhere is that the EF had become an object of major discord within the order. I’ve also heard from elsewhere that the suspension of the EF is intended as a very temporary measure intended to last no more than a matter of months. (My source is someone I have the utmost respect for and has never let me down before, but as he does not wish to be identified, I will say no more. Feel free to take this as idle gossip; I won’t be offended.)

  5. EPMS says:

    The Pope has also made some remarks about marriage discipline in general, I gather. The current farce around annulments cannot continue. Does anyone know anyone who was refused an annulment? Does anyone even know anyone who was counseled not to attempt to seek one? Every Catholic parish website has a section labelled Marriage Issues which says, basically, “We will work with you” ie “We will help you fill out the forms and dictate the requisite phrases”. Prince Charles could not marry Camilla in the C of E, but since he was a widower and her marriage had been annulled they wou,d have been home and dry in the Catholic church.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: The current farce around annulments cannot continue.

      I agree with the substance of your intent, but there is one very significant point on which we need to split hairs. Unlike secular authorities, the Catholic Church does not — and cannot — grant an “annulment” that legally cancels an otherwise valid marriage, but rather grants a “decree of nullity” declaring that a valid marriage never existed — and therein lies a critical difference. Nobody has suggested that any tribunals are granting such decrees improperly or without merit. The problem, rather, is that marriages that are inherently invalid are happening way too frequently.

      You asked: Does anyone know anyone who was refused an annulment? Does anyone even know anyone who was counseled not to attempt to seek one?

      Actually, yes.

      I also know of one instance in which, a couple decades ago, a bishop who decided that there were too many decrees of nullity being granted in his diocese appointed himself as the sole Defender of the Bond on the diocesan tribunal. Petitions for decrees of nullity in that diocese dropped precipitously!

      Norm.

  6. EPMS says:

    Things were rather different “a couple decades ago”, I think we’d all agree. Defender of the Bond was a prestige assignment. Now, with a failure rate of over 95%, I assume it’s a form of punishment. And if people are being coached on how to fill out the forms, who is to say that the marriage in question was genuinely invalid?

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