Saturday, November 7, 2015

Have You Been Francis'ed Yet?

Don't worry, be happy!
The Bear is going to keep this vague for personal reasons. But he must report that he has been the victim of a vicious Francising.

It started with a serious question to a cleric. It essentially involves canon law, something like "can Bears be Catholic?" After the usual bouncing around, it finally wound up on Father Kind's desk. His reply to the Bear was a short, "don't worry!" Okay, maybe not that short, but certainly that limited in content. It did not address the explicit question from the Bear.

Now if there's one thing Bears don't like, it's a pat on the head. (Important Bear safety tip: scratch behind the ears; do not pat!)

The Bear replied, again asking for specific information on the matter at hand. It is important, and the Bear was not going to be head-patted. Maybe it's also the lawyer in him.

The reply from Fr. Kind was swift and kind. The tenor can be expressed in the following phrases taken verbatim:

  • you should not worry about anything
  • the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law
  • pastoral concern
  • mercy and forgiveness are key here
  • God knows your heart
  • your faith journey

It was free of substantive content, and did not address the Bear's very specific and simple question. The Bear was hoping for something like, "I spoke with so-and-so, and explained your situation. He said that under the circumstances, the result was such-and-such, and we need to do (a) nothing, or (b) something, and here's what it is."

Fr. Kind is a very kind man, and the Bear loves him dearly. The Bear appreciates his straightforward, no bells and whistles mass, which is said in the newer liturgy. He is an excellent confessor (although the Bear sometimes feels he's a little too kind to the Bear). But the Bear has to say it: Fr. Kind dropped the ball on this one.

The Bear wonders how much Pope Francis' theme of Mercy has already filtered down to the parish level. You could quickly make a Pope Francis address by stringing together the bullets above.

Has anyone else been "Francised" at the parish level? For all the hubbub about the Synod, the Bear wonders if Pope Francis' most immediate, widespread and enduring result is still The Francis Effect.

But who is the Bear to judge?

35 comments:

  1. Of course I've been Francised---I work in a conservative Novus Ordo parish. My Father Kind, quotes Francis a fair amount.. It is a conundrum to me because he is so UN-Francis-like. I sneak off to the sacristy and read during the homilies of the Masses for which I am musically responsible. Better than being angry. I was told I should have more faith in God and His Church. And as you know, I take the sacraments only at a sedevacantist chapel during the week.

    Kim

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    Replies
    1. The Bear has been known to blurt out things during particularly bad homilies.

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    2. Today I went to a neighboring parish due to time constraints. I love the Church itself, but the acoustics are terrible....everything echo's. On top of it we had a hispanic priest with a very heavy accent, so I didn't really get much of the homily. I tried, but just wasn't getting it. Maybe the Lord was sparing me the anger and turmoil today.:) Truthfully it was a beautiful Mass even and maybe especially without the homily:)

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    3. Kim: I don't actually think this is too uncommon. My experience with Catholics in general and Priests in specific is that many do not actually read the Pope too much. They assume he is in the background and assume he is on-target theologically and at the least, dare I say it, not a heretic!

      They don't study him in other words. Thus they can sort of grab a statement here and there and not understand the whole package {and certainly not the most egregious parts} of what this Pope has brought the world and the Church. For myself, I got tired of taking others' words for it and began to study the writings and actions of Pope Francis. It has been a terribly grim and depressing revelation. But facts are facts and must be faced. I encourage you to maybe challenge or encourage your Priest to investigate for himself the words and actions of this Pope. You Priest may wind up being his own best teacher and if so, rest assured, fewer and fewer references to the Pope will be made in homilies! LOL

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  2. Bear. Everything you mention was going on long before Pope Francis arrived on the scene. You know this, of course. I suppose Pope Benedict set the monsoon of ambiguity back a little with his clarity and rationality but as you imply, Pope Francis has raised it to a new level and given it his full support. His motto: never make a statement that can't be interpreted in multiple ways.

    Different subject. We were informed today in our Church Bulletin that our Parish is to become a non-profit Corporation and our Pastor will become the President. Has anyone heard of this happening in other places? My guess the reason for doing this has to do with liability but this was never explained.

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    Replies
    1. My first thought is to protect the people in charge from civil liability. What if someone slipped and fell? I could be way off base because I'm not that kind of lawyer.

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    2. I practice non-profit law in Pennsylvania. If a church intends to protect themselves from civil liability, state law may require them to seek a specific legal status and laws in your state may have changed recently, or your church may be expanding activities that requiring different status for legal protection from liability. This is all separate from federal tax exempt status, which only protects one from liability for certain federal taxes. In Pennsylvania we have a special legal entity for churches called a "charitable trust", but it varies state to state.

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    3. In my diocese in Texas, all parishes were incorporated in 2007. The central diocese administration is a separate corporation. Each pastor is the president of the corporation of his parish, and other board members are the bishop and vicar general. I suspect this was done to limit liability in the wake of the lawsuits of 10 years ago.

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  3. Oh and while we are on the subject there's a doozy to watch over at Fr. Z's blog and Dymphna's Road Blog. Fr. Robbins who is the new Pastor over at Our Savior's Church in Manhattan invited the 'hare krishnas' to come in for an ecumenical 'prayer service'. (this was in September of this year) If you know any of the history, that was once Fr. Rutler's Parish and Fr. Robbins kind of demolished it upon taking over. They are standing either ON the Altar or in front of it singing and swaying. Some are saying the Church will have to be reconsecrated after that, but what struck me were all the zombies sitting in the pews that didn't get up and walk. Unbelievable.

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    Replies
    1. That's a legitimate story of course, and your comment is spot on. It is a good example of the kind of story I would probably let other bloggers run as this blog's mission is kind of the opposite. The overwhelming majority of parishes probably didn't do that. Some could say, "sure, there's your Novus Ordo Church for you," like it is typical, while others might be scandalized and forget that these bizarre stories are about a local aberration that doesn't have anything to do with their parish or the Church at large. Lowering the information-action ratio is inevitable, but I'll save it for those stories that have a broader impact.

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    2. P.S. we're done with that car crash, so just move along :-)

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    3. You're right. Most parishes wouldn't do that of course, but I guess I'm a tad bit paranoid on these situations because I am in Chicago with Archbishop Cupich, and just waiting for the boom to lower, on whatever kind of 'welcoming' he may have in mind. Already we are hearing that 'changes' are coming' to Chicago from some of our Priests. Jesus have mercy.

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    4. On the other hand, I attended a parish where the Pastor invited the FSSP to come in and say Mass at 3:00 on a Sunday afternoon {causing no disturbance to normal schedules, etc}. This resulted in a massive rebellion {I was serving as MC and active in the parish at the time, so I know the facts}. The hatred and bitterness for the TLM was explosive. The Priest was relentlessly attacked for what he did.

      I wonder if anyone complained about the Hare Krishna gig?

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  4. Perhaps, Bear, Father Kind is persuaded that more souls get to heaven via the golden highway of invincible ignorance than by the damnable doctrinal lane.

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  5. My parish priest this past weekend, announced a new three part workshop on three topics, "Mercy to those with same sex attraction", "mercy to the divorced and remarried", "mercy to the widowed." I will leave it at that out of the interest of remaining charitable, however, this is an abrupt change from the direction of our adult faith formation programs of the past 3 years and has required the abrupt and rude dismissal of the concerns and involvement of the current adult faith formation coordinator at our parish. So yes, it appears the year of mercy will bring further distortion of doctrine.

    Are we not to focus on God's mercy following true repentance and a full turning away from sin. It is not merciful to lead sinners to believe they are not sinning or to feel comfortable to remain steeped in sin which may lead them to eternal damnation, it is selfish and cruel. What worse can you do to a person than mislead them in regards to the seriousness of grave sins, thereby placing their eternal salvation in serious jeopardy - especially if you are entrusted with guiding those souls?

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  6. Thanks Vanda for your comments on reasons why our parish church might have incorporated. It is located in Florida.

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  7. Vanda, it is chilling to learn that your pastor is taking concrete steps to carry out this revolution. I honestly thought most priests, at very least those who came of age under JPII, would be waiting out this papacy and would take the attitude "move along folks, nothing to see here". Perhaps there are indeed enough of the old barnacles around to cause damage.

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  8. Can someone please give me a clear definition of "mercy" from Pope Francis' view? It's been used so much the meaning is getting murky to me.
    (I'm not joking. Maybe it's chemo brain, but the essence of what he/it means is not sinking in.) Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Pope Francis' style thrives on lack of definition. I take it to mean the opposite of "evil" fundamentalism he likes to talk about, which might include an over-emphasis on rules. As an example, mercy seems to trump the valid issues with communion for divorced and remarried," and reduce it to a bare "rule" unconnected to broader issues of sacrilege, adultery, the Church, and Christ himself.

      The Bear is all for mercy, and would imagine so are the woodland creatures, for that matter. We all need mercy. But mercy is a part of the process. Pope Francis sometimes seems like a bull in a china shop once he gets an idea.

      I'll probably get mobbed, but IF the Pope could have his circle come up with a way to allow "divorced and remarried" to receive communion while satisfying all the other issues, then the Bear would withdraw is objections -- remember, that's "if."

      Beyond that I don't know what mercy is, or where its limits are for us, if anywhere.

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    2. Theranter, it's not chemo brain! (Prayers going out that you make a full recovery). It's Francis'
      Nuchurch feel-good, whoamitojudge? gobbledegook.

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    3. There is no NuChurch, or Conciliar Church or Novus Ordo Church. It's all the Church that exists at this point in time. I am certain you were not suggesting otherwise, SP, but just a reminder it's fine to criticize the Church qua Church, but suggesting the Church is not the Church violates like the one rule we have here. We wouldnt separate the pre-1965 Church and call it DeadChurch. Just a friendly reminder.

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    4. Don't worry Bear, my foot is nailed to the floor of any Roman Catholic Church I happen to be in. The Novus Ordo churches and TLM churches I've attended do seem like parallel universes however. I know I get the valid Eucharist at each. I've told Jesus how screwed up I thought things are with two liturgies and asked Him to work it out for me.

      Nuchurch for me is those Novus Ordo parishes with the brain-numbingly heterodox sermons, polyester-clad Eucharistic ministers in abundance, felt banners, androgynous statuary and self-massaging Marty Haugen music. A lot of those in my diocese. I weep.

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    5. It's amazing what you can get used to. In the meantime, isn't it cool that Jesus Christ Himself actually comes as bread and wine we can consume, the same Second Person of the Holy Trinity through Whom all things were made? That is the perspective for me, and it sort of wipes away all the microscopic differences (compared to that) among the different liturgies in use by the Church.

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  9. Dear Theranter,

    I hope the following assists you in your quest for a definition of 'mercy':

    'When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”

    ― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

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  10. The comments more than the post itself:

    http://www.thepersonalistproject.org/comments/the_heart_of_the_church

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  11. To Pope Francis mercy is forgiveness without repentance, sinning without punishment, rewards without effort. In other words, spiritual welfare. It's no wonder Pope Francis is popular. Cheap grace and lots of hugs and share the wealth. Could Huey Long have done it any better? Pope Francis is an embarrassment to himself and the Church.

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  12. Michael Dowd, we simply cannot attribute motives to anyone, even Pope Francis. Because human nature is what it is, the good is always sought, even if the good is in fact evil - the devil can appear as an angel of light. Evil can appear a good.
    Even though many in our hierarchy are tools of the evil one, they are convinced because of bad formation, bad theology, and bad philosophy, that they are taking the Church down the right path.
    Isn't that what we pray for? That Our Lord and Our Lady will 'convert' them, or bring us a holy Pope and holy bishops.

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    Replies
    1. To 'A Daughter of Mary'. My comments have nothing to do with motives but only with actions. I pray for him every day also. Being clear about understanding what is does is the very basis of our concern and prayer for him.

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  13. Bear: The entire Church has been Francised and frankly it was Francised before Francis. As a convert, I am living in a fog of disbelief. Not disbelief in the doctrines of the Church. No, in fact, I wholly affirm them. I am living in the fog of disbelief that the Church could possibly be this un-Catholic and anti-Catholic. I am shocked almost every day at what I read from our leaders who are heretics and our leaders who are ostensibly orthodox but cowards.

    My good orthodox friend tells me over an over "Nothing to worry about", "It's always been this way", "The heretics have always been left to run their mouths and say and do what they want", etc.

    Always?

    I don't buy it. I have a Masters in theology and have spent my life studying the Scriptures and the last several years the documents of the faith; CCC, Cat of Council of Trent, Denzinger's Enchiridion Symbolorum, Docs of V2, an endless list of encyclicals, etc.

    No, this is not the way it has always been and it isn't the way it should be. I am disgusted with what I see in the Catholic Church because...what I see plainly speaking isn't Catholic. As for the Pope, I tell everyone I know to READ what he has said and written. Don't take the word of others. Reason I say it is I might be his sharpest critique and every time I quote something he has said or done Catholics deny it. Yet the citations cannot be denied. Since when did Catholic give up on protecting and defending the faith?

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  14. Bear, respecting {and agreeing with} your rule about no separation of the Church, I must say one thing. As a convert, giving up the respect of friends and family to become a Catholic, I and my wife {who converted with me} have no interest in half-baked "Catholicism". We searched for parishes that were actually Catholic and found it to be a bit of a struggle. One we have found is fairly straightforward in their teaching, with the Priest only a little tentative {but subject to the heresies of visiting priests due to its being a mill-run Novus Ordo parish}. The other parish we have found is "at the mercy" of no Francising, no hesitancy in the confessional, no hedging on the doctrines. It is an FSSP parish and tho we must drive a little less than 2 hours to get there, it is worth it. We are not "Latin fans" per se at all, but simply found the ministry and the doctrine to be ancient, Biblical, Traditional and simply Catholic, unlike most of the watered down semi-Protestant parishes in our region. Big kudos for the FSSP!

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  15. It is good that you found a place to go to Mass. As a counter-example, I am satisfied with my own parish and its community, even though I could drive two hours for an Institute of Christ the King Mass. Does that make either one of us better Catholics? I don't think so. Do you get more Jesus at one Mass? Of course not! The last thing I'm at Mass for is the homily (not by choice, but by experience). I spend much of my day reading Scripture and other spiritual writings (besides blogging). And it's nice that my parish church is right in my town. But if you're in the Church, whether you nail your foot to the floor or not, you're fine.

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  16. I don't exactly agree 100% with you. As far as the validity of the Mass is concerned, I agree, and if the homilies were universally bad, I'd agree with you 100%. But the homily can is an important part of the Mass and in the case of the parishes I am speaking of, matters greatly in that is is of a very high level. Both have excellent teaching. This is especially important in the full community of parish believers and the young people. In parishes where preaching and general Priestly guidance is poor...heresy is giving a fertile seedbed.

    While the validity of the Sacrament cannot be nullified by a bad preacher, the total effectiveness of the mission of the parish community can be. Thus when my adult children {converts as well} are visiting and able to worship with us, we are glad to be able to bring them to parishes where the wholeness of Catholic truth is demonstrated and where not just the validity of the Mass is experienced. I might add we live in a remote area subject to severe weather which prevents us from attending the one parish exclusively. We financially support both. It is tragic in the Church that so many parishes are plagued {what else to call it?} by weak Priests and vapid preaching. It does not have to be so. By the way, thanks for addressing the issues you address. We must support each other and empower each other to go out in our respective communities and stand up for the Lord Jesus and His Church and not shy away from those who seek to diffuse or obliterate or alter the message of Catholic truth.

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    1. Not sure that good homilies have ever been considered a strong point of Catholicism (with shining exceptions, of course). There is no reason to make sacraments and homilies an either/or, but I'm there for the sacrament, and a good homily is a bonus. I think that has been the attitude of most people. Our priest will come up with two or three things he did during the past week, then loosely tie them to the readings. He does preach confession, I'll give him that,

      I have written here on this blog many times that the Church needs to catechize the pewsitters. A fat lot of good that has done. I cringe when I realize every Sunday that you have people for 15 or 20 minutes (and you'd better believe the old people will complain about anything longer) and that is your Golden Moment. Your Closing Argument, as I tend to think of it. No lawyer would waste his closing! Yet priests routinely fail at homily.

      I don't get my Catholic teaching from homilies, though, nor do I necessarily expect to. I don't mind being challenged, or inspired. Is it the better homilies or the Latin Mass you're driving two hours for?

      But I understand that homilies are only given in Latin at TLM masses, so I don't understand how people are supposed to understand them!

      I'm surprised about the outrage over a TLM. I'd think they'd be curious, if nothing else. I would enjoy a TLM at my parish, like that's ever going to happen, though.

      I must challenge you on the unfortunate turn of phrase "not just the validity of the Mass." "Just" and "Mass" just don't go together when the Second Person of the Holy Trinity comes to His people under the guise of bread and wine. I respectfully invite you to consider some nondescript little "Novus Ordo," or "Concilliar" church with mediocre preaching is full of angels as Christ Himself descends the very same as in the TLM Mass in the most magnificat baroque church.

      I don't mean to single you out, but this is about Plain 'ol Roman Catholicism, after all. People who express a preference from the TLM may be gently challenged in a friendly, Bearish manner.

      P.S. the above contains at least one joke.

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    2. Bear, I haven't condemned the novus ordo Mass. I have said we have found a solid novus ordo parish and a solid FSSP parish. It is true that most of the novus ordo parishes I have visited allow to greater or lesser extent a disrespect of the Sacrament but that is not a requirement of the Mass rite, that is a feature of the culture that has grown around it. Ditto the poor teaching. I also think you might be downplaying the value and importance of teaching from the ambo. It may not be what you go to Mass for and in that sense I am with you 100%, however, reinforcement of doctrine and interpretation of Scripture is a significant responsibility of parish leadership and as an ex-Protestant I would send out a gentle warning that individual Bible study is highly valuable but can also be very dangerous. I have read the Bible thru numerous times but I subscribe wholly to the authority of the Church in interpretation, and that should be a significant element in pastoral preaching. That homiletic support is not to be dismissed lightly, unless, alas, it is so distant from Church doctrine or so flat out heretical that it must be ignored. Regardless, there are those who, sad to say, only get their doctrinal education {the Church in many areas lacking anything else} from homilies so it is best if they are good ones. St Paul makes clear the high value of preaching, and the Church should take note.

      I don't have to worry about these issues myself, as we have found two parishes where the doctrines of the Church are taught clearly and strongly, praise God. I love your hammer and nails analogy, but in our case, tho we have to drive some distance, we don't yet have to rely on the hammer and nails to keep our feet in Church! With the FSSP I doubt we ever will. :)

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  17. Bear, every homily at a TLM I've ever attended was in the vernacular. I hope that observation was a joke.

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