Monthly Archives: April 2016

A Response to “The new Marcionism”

The dance of “mercy versus justice” continues to be argued within a Church in turmoil. Certainly the arguments presented by our dear Augustinus provide an interesting reflection of this ongoing discussion.

We struggle with our understanding of God because most of us want to see God through our own, distorted lens. This is perhaps the biggest lesson in the Gospel story of the prodigal son. Each key figure in the story experienced it through their own filter which was defined by their own interests and personal history. Let’s examine the characters, just a bit:

  • The youngest son did not feel badly that he took his inheritance and set out on his own, but he felt very badly that he failed. He prayed for mercy and headed home because he didn’t have a lot of choices. He was a screwup and he knew it as he practiced the lines he would say to ask his father to take him back in. 
  • The oldest son saw the situation as unfair. He felt slighted that he never received the reward he expected for his obedience. Clearly, he did not want to stay home and work the family farm any more than his younger brother. He stayed because it was his duty to stay, and he expected something in return for his obedience. He also expected his younger brother to get the payback he deserved and suffer the consequences of his actions. It was only fair.
  • The father saw the situation from an entirely different perspective. He clearly felt badly that his younger son left. He just wanted his family to be together again. Fairness, justice or mercy was not part of the equation to him at all. They were overshadowed by the desire for communion. He just wanted his child back.

In the Gospel message of the prodigal son, Jesus points out that God’s response does not always fit nicely into our notion of fairness. Understanding this is key to growth in discipleship. It is our recognition that when we try to define God on our own terms, by trying to make him fit the filters we have chosen, we don’t see the whole picture. Growth only comes when we abandon our own interests, open our hearts and simply listen. This is the test of faith. 

Perhaps then, the best way to understand justice and mercy in the Catholic Church is simple prayer and reflection over the prayer Jesus taught us: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.  In this line, Jesus tells us that we need to work to receive mercy through active forgiveness of others. It is not what we want to hear and does not fit nicely with out notion of fairness and reward for obedience hierarchical rules, but it is the heart of the Church. 

Leave it to the Jesuits!

Brought to you by Allan Gillis

I wanted to keep my powder dry on this “Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation”… I wanted to take a careful look and be especially careful as I gladly receive Cardinal Burke’s response to Amoris Laetitia:

“The only key to the correct interpretation of Amoris Laetitia is the constant teaching of the Church and her discipline that safeguards and fosters this teaching. Pope Francis makes clear, from the beginning, that the post-synodal apostolic exhortation is not an act of the magisterium (No. 3). The very form of the document confirms the same. [It is a Post-Synodal Exhortation, and therefore it seems to be more closely aligned with the Synod than the Pope’s Ordinary Magisterium.] It is written as a reflection of the Holy Father on the work of the last two sessions of the Synod of Bishops.”

In other words – Burke is telling me to “cool my jets!”.   But then, I see The Left has already gone “balls to the wall” with their “loosey-goosey” interpretation of it  –  which we can of course expect from the Jesuits!  See below:

Catholic World News

Jesuit editor says Pope has removed restrictions on divorced/remarried access to sacraments

April 12, 2016

Father Antono Spadaro, the Italian Jesuit who was an influential figure in the meetings of the Synod on the Family, now writes that Pope Francis has removed all restrictions on the access of divorced and remarried Catholics to the sacraments.

Father Spadaro’s controversial interpretation of Amoris Laetitia— which appears to contradict the claims that the Pope made no major changes in Church teaching or discipline– appears in Civilta Cattholica, the Jesuit journal that Father Spadaro edits.

Civilta Cattholica is regarded as a semi-authoritative source because its contents are approved in advance by the Vatican Secretariat of State. Father Spadaro has worked closely with Pope Francis as adviser and translator, and reportedly helped to draft the apostolic exhortation.

They couldn’t wait to run with this one!  Sadly, THIS is what will be preached in nearly every Parish in Europe and in these United States over the course of the next six months to a year!  Mark my words!

The new Marcionism: Whats wrong with the church these days?

By Augustinus

When I went to daily mass yesterday I heard for the millionth time a very typical sickly-sweet treacly insouciant homily on how our God is a loving compassionate God and not a bad judgmental tyrant father type. We listeners in the pews had to be treated like scared children or wounded victims who need treatment at a field hospital like good Pope Francis insists rather than lessons in warfare like the old church used to preach. Pope Francis was cited approvingly by referring to the Pope’s recent book whose title is “The name of God is mercy”.

For decades now the homilies I have heard at all the masses I have attended have been similar in tone: God is not a judgmental god, God is loving, God is like the Father in the parable of the prodigal son, God is not wrathful, God is not a tyrant etc etc…Certainly all the Popes since Vatican II have adopted this tone to varying degrees of assuring the faithful that God is NOT this judgmental tyrant Father in the sky. The most recent Pope seems to hold the most extreme version of this sanitizing theme for the church. This “pastoral” note was sounded first at Vatican II and it has been adopted with fanatical dedication since then. Its as if the church has decided that it MUST repeat ad nauseum how loving God is in order to prove to the wider world that it is not an oppressive, backward, moralistic Church interested only in scolding people to serve God – or else!

Perhaps Vatican II and the post Vatican II pastoral church was justified to some extent as a reaction against the heretical tendency of seeing God as a tyrant that came to the fore with Jansenism back in the 1600 and 1700s. Whether or not there was any justification to the pastoral turn back in the early 1960s there is certainly no justification for it now. On the contrary I see the current trend to repeat the “God is mercy mantra” ad nauseum as indicative of heresy. Heresy always takes one true attribute of God and makes it God. The modern heresy of exalting the merciful name of God at the expense of God’s justice and wrathful attributes is a renewal of an old heresy. The old heresy was called Marcionism. Marcion was a rich man in early Rome who hated the wrathful god of the old testament and claimed that the merciful loving God of the new testament was the only true God.  Like our modern, tolerant, liberal rich elites, the elites of the old Roman empire wanted an easy loving God to relate to…. not a judgmental, demanding God who can be moved to wrath at the disobedience of his creatures.

So in my view what is wrong with the modern church is a Marcionism-redux. We have lost the fear of God in the west. There are no consequences of disobedience to the church or to God if the church is relentlessly merciful. The church is engaging in idolatry if it elevates only the merciful side of God at the expense of God’s warthful side.

Bernie Sanders accepts Pope Francis’ Vatican invitation

Brought to you from The New York Daily News by Allan Gillis

Meg Wagner –

bernie-sanders

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is making a one-of-a-kind campaign stop at the Vatican— and hand to God, he swears the invite was not his idea.

The Vermont senator was asked out of the blue last week to speak at an April 15 church conference with Pope Francis on social, economic and environmental issues, said a Sanders spokesman.

The candidate went public with the news on Friday, when the Vatican confirmed that Sanders, along with other world leaders, academics and scholars, was asked to attend.

But Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, told Bloomberg News that Sanders — in a show of “monumental discourtesy” — lobbied for a spot at the get-together.

“Sanders made the first move, for the obvious reasons,” charged Archer. “I think in a sense he may be going for the Catholic vote. But this is not the Catholic vote and he should remember that and act accordingly — not that he will.”

Sanders spokesman Michael Shank denied her version of what happened, and claimed there was no angling for a spot before the March 30 invite arrived.

In a copy of the invitation provided by the Sanders campaign, Archer was listed as one of the people officially requesting Sanders’ presence.

After making the trip to Rome, Sanders will return to New York for the final days of campaigning before the April 19 primary.

While a Jewish socialist from Brooklyn and an Argentine Catholic pontiff sounds like an odd couple, Sanders said the two shared similar views on many issues — particularly the economy and specifically the 1% of America’s wealthiest people.

“He’s talking about the idolatry of money, the worship of money, the greed that’s out there,” said a clearly thrilled Sanders in a Friday appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.

“He’s trying to inject a sense of morality into how we do economics. And we need that, absolutely, desperately.”

Sanders described himself as a “big, big fan of the Pope,” and has invoked Pope Francis during his increasingly contentious campaign against front-runner Hillary Clinton.

The idea of a so-called “moral economy” as espoused by the Pope “is an issue that is very dear to my heart,” Sanders said.

The socialist Democrat has won six of the last seven Democratic primaries or caucuses, with the New York race shaping up as critical for both candidates. The Vatican visit will come the day after a crucial May 14 Clinton-Sanders debate in his native borough.

Sanders, who hopes to meet with the Pope next week, offered a quick preview of what to expect from his address to the Vatican crowd.

“I will … be addressing the planetary crisis of climate change and the moral imperative to make sure we leave this planet in a way that is healthy and habitable for future generations,” said Sanders.

Sanders, during his morning show visit, said the pope’s views on global wealth and morality were far more radical than his.

“Read what the Pope is writing,” said Sanders. “What he is saying is not only that we have to pay attention to what he calls the dispossessed … (But) how our whole culture is based on ‘I need more and more and more, and I don’t have to worry about veterans sleeping out on the street or elderly people who can’t afford their prescription drugs.’”

(emphasis by your blog host)

UPDATE:

After thinking about this overnight – for me, it begs the question; if Bergoglio weren’t a cleric – would he have ended up an Argentinean Socialist/Communist thug?  Why didn’t Rick Santorum get invited to the Vatican?  Oh!  That’s right – he’s a “Denier”!!  …well then, doesn’t that put Santorum (and others like myself) on one of Frankie’s “peripheries”?

 

 

A reappraisal of the Viet Nam War

By Augustinus

I am reading Geoffrey Shaw’s “Lost mandate of Heaven: The American betrayal of Ngo Dinh Diem, president of Vietnam”. Shaw is a military historian who specializes in counterinsurgencies. He is non-Catholic who writes with respect and a kind of reverence concerning President Diem of South Viet Nam.

Catholics interested in formulating a new unashamed militant Catholicism should read Diem’s story. Diem was President of South Vietnam (the Republic of Viet Nam) from 1954 to 1963. He had led the anti-colonial fight for Vietnamese independence from France for decades before he became President of the newly independent Viet Nam in the early 1950s. As president he led his country successfully to avoid the twin evils of returning to French colonialism and the aggression of North Vietnamese communism.  During his tenure it is universally agreed that the economy revived, the political situation was stabilized and the threat from the communists neutralized. He created the new university system of Viet Nam, supported the revival of traditionalist Confucian festivals, subsidized Buddhist temples and monasteries and protected the Catholic Church. His political philosophy was called “personalist” and drew upon Confucian and catholic sources.

He was a devout Catholic who went to daily mass, practiced asceticism, and made periodic spiritual retreats. he was considered by the VietNamese people to be a kind of saint. Saints can act brutally against heretics and it appears Diem did so. He jailed and executed many communists and even some political opponents.

So he was no pacifist or saint. He nevertheless was a hero to the Vietnamese people. He was respected by all factions in Viet Nam and on the international stage.  He was feared by his communist opponents. They had murdered his brother by burying him alive and had repeatedly attempted to assassinate him and his family.  The North Communist leader Ho Chi Minh had a love hate relationship with Diem. Ho respected Diem and knew that Diem was the only worthy opponent he had faced. The communists attempted to undermine Diem free republic in the South through assassinations, random terrorist attacks that were spectacularly brutal and terrifying. The insurgency had the desired effect of forcing Diem’s government into harsh counterinsurgency policies. The communists recruited some Buddhist monks to incite rebellion against the catholic regime and it was this conflict that gave the American’s an excuse to foment a coup against Diem in 1963.  By doing so the Americans eliminated Communism’s most effective foe in the south.

From wikipedia entry on Diem:

Upon learning of Diệm’s ouster and assassination, Hồ Chí Minh reportedly stated: “I can scarcely believe the Americans would be so stupid.” The North Vietnamese Politburo was more explicit:

“The consequences of the 1 November coup d’état will be contrary to the calculations of the U.S. imperialists … Diệm was one of the strongest individuals resisting the people and Communism. Everything that could be done in an attempt to crush the revolution was carried out by Diệm. Diệm was one of the most competent lackeys of the U.S. imperialists  … Among the anti-Communists in South Vietnam or exiled in other countries, no one has sufficient political assets and abilities to cause others to obey. Therefore, the lackey administration cannot be stabilized. The coup d’état on 1 November 1963 will not be the last.

After Diệm’s assassination, South Vietnam was unable to establish a stable government and several coups took place after his death. While the United States continued to influence South Vietnam’s government, the assassination bolstered North Vietnamese attempts to characterize the South Vietnamese as “supporters of colonialism”.[

According to Shaw the real culprits behind Diem’s assassination and therefore the inevitable victory of the communists were the American diplomats Henry Cabot Lodge and Averill Harriman.