John Zmirak on the Pope’s interview

I enjoy this guy’s writing.  Here’s his take on the Pope’s interview:

The pope is quite right to say we ought to present the beauty of the faith in all its integrity—as he does in his beautiful book Open Mind, Faithful Heart, which appears for the first time in English next month. And it is true that the mercy of God is at the heart of this faith. And it was really important to warn Catholics of the need to emphasize mercy … back in the 17th century.

At that time, the most powerful threats to the Faith came from brilliant, apostolic Calvinists and Jansenists, who thundered about the fewness of the saved and almost exulted in the damnation of unbaptized infants. But how many people now are crippled by an excessive fear of God? Is this really the threat we face?

Or do we face increasingly intolerant secular governments that are redefining marriage and punishing Christians who dissent; potent elites who teach our children that “gender” is a social construct subject to surgery; multi-billion-dollar organizations that are trying to spread abortion to every land on earth; totalitarian Islamists who cut the heads off priests and burn down churches; vast countries still ruled by Communist governments which persecute the Church? Do I really need to go on?

There is quite a long list of churches that show no “obsession” with the less-popular parts of the Christian moral message. Instead, for the past 40 years they’ve been preaching mercy, inclusion, tolerance, and a leftist/statist vision of social justice. From the Anglican communion to the United Methodist Church, from the mainline Lutherans to the mainline Presbyterians, every single one of these churches is fading into irrelevance. The Episcopal church (like some shrinking, liberal Catholic religious orders) is right on track to becoming a real estate holding company. Why should we think this universally failed strategy would win not just smiles but souls?

Worst of all, inside the Church, many Catholics are still subject to the power of bitter, dead-ender dissidents, who reject fundamental teachings on faith and morals, and use the institutional power of the Church to impose their views on others.

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2 Responses to John Zmirak on the Pope’s interview

  1. Rev22:17 says:

    Deborah,

    From your quotation: At that time, the most powerful threats to the Faith came from brilliant, apostolic Calvinists and Jansenists, who thundered about the fewness of the saved and almost exulted in the damnation of unbaptized infants. But how many people now are crippled by an excessive fear of God? Is this really the threat we face?

    Unfortunately, these very Jansenist tendencies are very much alive in some Traditionalist groups, as well as in the schismatic Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), to which many Traditionalists continue to turn.

    So yes, they ARE still very much a threat to the faith.

    From your quotation: There is quite a long list of churches that show no “obsession” with the less-popular parts of the Christian moral message. Instead, for the past 40 years they’ve been preaching mercy, inclusion, tolerance, and a leftist/statist vision of social justice. From the Anglican communion to the United Methodist Church, from the mainline Lutherans to the mainline Presbyterians, every single one of these churches is fading into irrelevance. The Episcopal church (like some shrinking, liberal Catholic religious orders) is right on track to becoming a real estate holding company. Why should we think this universally failed strategy would win not just smiles but souls?

    Yes, this sort of liberalism is also very much a threat to the faith — but none of this bears any resemblance to anything that the present pope has advocated, at least publicly. The letter Homosexualitatis problema from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons, promulgated on 01 October 1986 under the signature of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as prefect of that congregation, draws a very clear distinction between a pastoral response to individuals who have homosexual tendencies, on the one hand, and anything that suggests approval or even sanctioning of a homosexual lifestyle on the other. The present pope has not in any way deviated from such distinctions.

    That said, it’s no surprise to me that many conservatives are abuzz about the pope’s comments. Those same conservatives were equally abuzz over the discussion of appropriate pastoral response to homosexual individuals in the pastoral letter Homosexualitatis problema when it first came out, too. But psychological illness does not constitute sin, nor do acts committed out of psychological illness.

    Norm.

  2. Pingback: John Zmirak on the Pope’s interview | Catholic Canada

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