Well! I’m out of things for a little while and everyone gets delusions of grandeur!
Apparently Pope Francis has been promoted to divine oracle.
I’m back in Santa Marinella and I see that things are proceeding nicely along the expected lines. The latest comes from Archbishop Scicluna in Malta:
He said they looked at the whole document and “all the questions which are causing most problems,” adding they didn’t just look at the most controversial chapter the document, Chapter 8, “but also at the interpretation approved by the Pope.”
“To be honest, I was very surprised because after the Pope wrote to the bishops of Buenos Aires, I felt that when the Pope tells you ‘there are no other interpretations’, one has to accept the interpretation that the Pope gives of his own documents,” he said. “We adhered to Amoris Laetitia. We also followed the interpretation that the Pope approved, but evidently what we did was not liked everywhere. One can’t please everyone.”
Archbishop Scicluna’s wish to avoid addressing previous papal teaching was further witnessed the next day. In a homily on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul in Birkirkara, Malta, Jan. 25, he said: “Whoever wishes to discover what the true will of Christ is for him, the true heart of Jesus, he should ask the Church, not blogs.”
“He must ask the Pope and the bishops who are in communion with the Pope,” he added. “Whoever wishes to discover what Jesus wants from him, he must ask the Pope, this Pope, not the one who came before him, or the one who came before that. This present Pope. “
Apparently the pope has been promoted to Divine Oracle. I expect any day now a pastoral letter from the Archbishop of Malta declaring him to be Pope Pythia, and himself and all his kind as divinely appointed interpreter. Though one could not ask for a more forthright admission that this is a pope for an entirely different religion from that of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
I think its apropos, actually, and probably more than we have really considered so far.
What kind of gods use oracles? Ancient pagan gods made in the image of the worst of human capriciousness. The kind that produced the deep pagan fatalism and materialism of the ancient world, the kind that breeds nihilism and contempt for life, and these two: fatalism and materialism, are really the two most obvious philosophical engines of our time. Truly, the man most of us refer to as Pope Francis is the perfect pope for the modern world and the modern Church. He’s exactly the king the frogs have asked for.
If we now have the kind of pope for the new kind of god, we should take a look at what to expect, and history can help us. What kind of society are we looking at? What did the ancients think of as normal and moral?
Slavery. Infanticide. Gladiatorial games. Public executions. “Scorched earth” warfare, with enslaving and deportation of whole populations. The total devaluation of human life and the principle of might-making-right…
Taking the longer historical view, however, the idea that the pro-life and pro-family point of view is “retrograde” is heavily ironic. We in the Western World have been Christianised for so long that we have unconsciously subsumed these civilisation-building principles without being able any longer to articulate and define them. We have had our civilisation for so long that we have forgotten the barbarism it defeated and tamed. The result of this societal amnesia is that we are increasingly condemning as “retrograde,” or “oppressive” the very concepts that built, nurtured and protected our society.
So immersed are we in these foundational ideas, we have little insight to imagine a society not run on Christian moral principles. Beginning history students, even those who regard themselves as “emancipated” and secularised, are often shocked by the ideas that were considered normal in the ancient world.
In the world before Christianity, the idea that all human beings are equal under a divinely authored Natural Law was a wild innovation, an unprecedented and revolutionary novelty in an ancient world that had, since the dawn of history, universally accepted slavery, women and children as chattel and routine infanticide at the whim of parents.
On the other hand, nearly all the ideas so frequently championed by our philosophical opponents were part of the normal fabric of life in the ancient world; violent, brutal and arbitrary as it was. The notion that one spouse could dispose of the other at whim by a “no fault” system of divorce; that one parent, without being obliged even to consult the other, could decide which child would live and which would be “exposed”; that merely being human was not sufficient grounds to bestow the legal protection of the state: all were among the uglier aspects of Roman law. The notion that a man’s wife and children, slaves and dependent “clients” were possessed of exactly the same dignity and legal status as he was, would have shocked a Roman patrician of the 2nd century. As it would an Indian Brahmin of the 10th or a Confucian scholar-official of the 12th.
Only Christianity, and Christian philosophy and jurisprudence, has ever proposed to treat financially or physically or socially unequal human beings equally in law. The very concept of “person” in law did not exist until it was developed by Christian philosophers who also developed the notion of “human rights” based on nothing more than membership in the species, made in the image of the author of all creation.
So sharp is the moral and ethical contrast between the ancient pagan and the Christian mind that it was noticed and admitted even by atheists (this was before atheists gave up making honest observations.)
The philosopher Bertrand Russel wrote:
As a result of Christian dogma, the distinction between moral and other merits has become much sharper now than it was in Greek times. It is a merit in a man to be a great poet or composer but not a moral merit; we do not consider him more virtuous for possessing such attitudes or more likely to go to heaven.
When we come to compare Artistole’s ethical tastes with our own, we find in the first place an acceptance of inequality which is repugnant to much modern sentiment. Not only is there no objection to slavery or to the superiority of husbands and fathers over wives and children, but its is held that what is best is essentially only for the few—proud men and philosophers. Most men are mainly means for the production of a few rulers and sages.
And now the post-modern neopaganism has breached the citadel.
At one of the Synods, one of the Francis-cardinals made the suggestion that the Church had made a mistake following the moral leadership of Jesus of Nazareth. He said, in essence, that Jesus wasn’t “merciful” enough, and the Church needed to return to the Mosaic law that allowed divorce. Quite apart from this being a horrifying blasphemy, it was extremely enlightening about the minds of the men who now rule the Catholic institution.
As I wrote at the time:
The main difficulty faced by those who would push the Church to “tolerate” “second marriages,” as Cardinal Kasper put it, are the plain words of Christ in the Gospel. The Second Person of the Holy Trinity threw a divine spanner in the works by rather undiplomatically telling the Jews that it was for their “hardness of heart,” their failure in mercy, that Moses had allowed them to divorce, and that by His own divine authority, that was all off from now on.
Staring right in the face of the claims of the German and Kasperite Synod group, is the plain black and white print of every Bible ever published: Jesus said the exact opposite of what they are proposing.
In fact, according to the Author of all facts, it is indissolubility that is the product of the mercy and love of God for us humans.
This Gordian Knot for the progressives was cut in spectacular style in the Synod’s first week by Panamanian Cardinal Jose Luis Lacunza Maestrojuan, who simply proposed that the Church should drop Christ out of the consideration. Just ignore Him, since He was clearly no Moses.
Though the orders from on high (the office of the Synod Secretariat) came down not to publish any interventions but his own, the intrepid head of the Polish Bishops, Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, had recorded the Panamanian’s remarks for all the world to see:
“Moses drew near to the people and gave way,” Lacunza was reported as saying. “Likewise today, the ‘hardness of hearts’ opposes God’s plan [to allow divorce]. Could Peter not be merciful like Moses?”
It is perhaps worth noting that immediately after this blatant blasphemy was blurted out of the lips of one of the pope’s recent red-hat picks, the good Polish bishop Gadecki was instructed to stop blogging about the proceedings. He was giving rather too much away, I suppose. But I think we had heard enough by that time anyway.
This is the Church Francis wants. This is the “god” these men worship, one who is fickle, changeable, capricious… And this is the world they want to bring back. The pope, perched on his bronze stool, daily breathing in the vapours of “the spirit,” drooling out his incomprehensible gibberings, all duly interpreted for the masses by the little band of carefully selected priests of Apollo.