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Or, to sum it up: I'm like, whatever.

I think that is an excellent idea.


You shouldn't let the Pope, or especially what the secular press prints in reference to him, affect your spiritual life. Regardless of who the Pope is, or what is said. I assume that he wants the best for all of Christ's people, and that he is unfortunately "quoted" in the same way any famous person is, not fully within the context of what was intended.

Before the age of mass communication, a hundred generations of faithful Catholics lived out their lives pretty much ignoring what the Pope said, because they couldn't do anything else. And while I enjoyed NOT ignoring Pope Francis's two predecessors, because I admired their intellects and their manifest holiness, I don't think my understanding of the obligations of a Christian -- to love God and neighbor -- was ever really changed by anything they said.

So Mac, I say go for it. Pope Francis's too-frequent press conferences and magazine interviews may indeed be "incoherent," but the Gospels aren't. And neither is the Mass.

That's what I just came here to say!

And I think that if something like things-the-Pope-says-on-an-airplane are distracting you and destroying your peace, it's better to just live a good Catholic life and turn your attention to the things that you find helpful.

I don't think this constant agitation that people are expressing ever comes from the Lord unless you are living in serious sin and He is trying to get your attention. For most of us who are trying our best to follow the Lord, it comes from a different direction. So says Ignatius of Loyola anyway. ;-)


"You shouldn't let the Pope...affect your spiritual life."

Right, that's my goal.

True about the age of mass communication, Jeff. The whole pope-as-celebrity thing bothered me some when I was enthusiastic about the popes (the last two). It bothers me more now. And imagine what it could be like if we ever got a truly bad pope.

The "constant agitation", Janet, on my part, is to a great extent a feeling that I personally need to speak about this stuff, which is really fairly pointless as far as influencing the course of events is concerned. So at the practical level it's that urge that I most need to squelch, for my own welfare.

It's not only stuff he says on a plane, btw. There are some quite serious, non-hysterical, very theologically knowledgeable people who are quite concerned about some of the implications of some of his more official statements. Not being very theologically knowledgeable, I really need to leave that topic alone.

Oh, I know, but that's what the media seems to latch onto. I know there's serious stuff and I wasn't trying to belittle your objections to it. But there are also some quite serious, non-hysterical, very theologically knowledgeable people who are on the other side. And I, like you, am not all that knowledgeable, so I try to avoid it all because I had gotten to the point where it was depressing me terribly.

I always remember that when there were two or more people claiming to be pope, there were Saints on both (all?) sides of the argument. They were all very sure they were right, and they have all been canonized.

And I wasn't just talking about you. It's everywhere.


This Pope's career has been an odd case of 'failing up', something distinct from the Peter Principle, wherein you're promoted until your incompetence is manifest (but only discharged if you disrupt bureaucratic systems, which happens only to the supercompetent or the superincompetent). He never completed his theological dissertation and there's been quite a bit of static from sources in Argentina that his 'leadership' left the Jesuit province in ruins. It's a passable inference his incompetence was already manifest. His latest blurtation was sufficiently incoherent to make people thinking early-stage dementia more reasonable.

A digression:

One recalls that prior to 1906, no American president ever traveled abroad while in office and that Harry Truman, who presided over the most consequential diplomacy of this century, traveled abroad only 3x. One was a courtesy visit to Canada (which could have been made by car), one was a similar visit to Mexico, and one was the Potsdam Conference.

Similarly, Popes did not travel much prior to Paul VI. I do wish the occupant of the White House and the occupant of the Vatican would just stay home. You cannot learn much about a place if you're in a security bubble and what are those bloody phones and embassies for?

The current occupant of the Chair of Peter would be doing a better job if he did almost nothing.

"I know there's serious stuff and I wasn't trying to belittle your objections to it."

Yeah, I didn't take it that way, just wanted to make sure I didn't leave the impression that it was only the media flaps that were causing my problem.

No, I didn't think so.

That's more my thing. I just keep wishing he wouldn't talk on planes.


I can't see any problem with anything the Pope has said.

So I would be glad if Mac would stop ranting against him, because I'd come back to reading this site outside of the 52 Movies.

For the most part, I don't either, but he does confuse people, and when he talks off the cuff in an airplane, the media is quick to publish the soundbite out of context.

I understand, I think, why people are worried, but I'm not.

I don't really have time or the emotional energy to read much at the moment.


"Ranting?" I should link to a few real rants.... Remember I posted a quote from Francis every day last Lent.

Art, do you happen to remember where you got "blurtation"? I read it somewhere else just a few days ago and am pretty sure it was new to me. I thought it was funny.

I see more reason for the pope to globe-trot than the U.S. president. The pope's flock is global and a lot of people apparently find it very encouraging (I'm indifferent myself, and was with the previous two popes). I think the prez should travel less in general, and with a smaller entourage. The size and the extent to which everything for miles is expected to shut down has become far, far too imperial. Citizens of a republic should be offended.

He doesn't rant.

Grumpy doesn't read the blog during Lent, so likely she didn't know about that.


no comment about the word 'rant' - but correct, I do not read the blog in Lent.

Oh yeah, I forgot about that. Well, in any case, I don't plan to discuss the pope anymore, except maybe if I run across something particularly inspirational from him.

Art, do you happen to remember where you got "blurtation"?

It might have been coined by Dale Price. He might have gotten it from somewhere else: Steve Skojec perhaps, or Father Z. It's pricean, though.

The priests at the local Novus Ordo parish have pretty much stopped referring to Francis. That wasn't the case shortly after his election. The Cardinals appear to have been a break on anything thoroughly destructive and schism inducing. No doubt what he wants to do.

Not long after his election, Dr. Williams of Steubenville offered that he would just wait him out. I think that's all we can do.

I'm hoping those of us who are skeptical or worse will be proven wrong. But I'm going to quit trying to figure it out.

Before I leave this subject, I have to say that I think a lot of Catholic political conservatives have really disgraced themselves with their reaction to Francis. I think he's wrong in the specifics of much of what he's said about politics and economics, but even this sympathetic observer thinks they give the impression of caring more about economic-political than religious orthodoxy. Not talking about you, just various public conservatives. Can't think of any names off the bat. I guess they've quietened down some now.

And some traditionalist Catholics seem to be actively trying to read everything he says and does in the worst possible light. That's just wrong.

That has been what has really depressed me about the whole topic. It's like there are people out there just chomping at the bit for the pope to say something so they can jump all over it. They don't take a even a moment to look at what he's saying in context or think seriously about it before they rush to Facebook, blogs, etc. They are likely more problematic than the media.

I've been meaning to mention one other thing, though and always forget. You have said several times that we had begun to get past the divisions in the Church, and now this. I think you were overly optimistic about getting past them. Maybe we just buried them. Maybe it was a kind of cold war. Anyway, I think it was there ready to come to the surface at any moment, and I'm not sure that that isn't what the pope wants. Whether that's good or bad, I don't know.

I have been very happy in recent years that we have so many young, more conservative priests and sisters, but about 10 years ago I began to be concerned that we were going to go too far in that direction to the point where pride in orthodoxy was going to become a sort of weapon against those that didn't measure up. I'm probably saying this incorrectly. Well, it's the old, "I thank you Lord that I am not like other men" thing.

We should be orthodox in our beliefs and practice, but we should be humble about it and grateful for it. It's a gift. Not a proof that we are better.


'Blurtation' is priceless! I won't be stirring the pot, but just wanted to say a couple of things.

Firstly, I really think everyone must obey their own conscience in this matter.

Second, there may well be an element of spiritual pride involved among the critics of the Pope, but that's always a problem, and again, I think many of these people are acting from the POV of concern and they think they are doing the right thing. I know that's true for me.

Third, I have noticed, as Art said, that priests are generally not talking about Francis in the pulpit.

I hope that wasn't too controversial, I wasn't trying to be.

No, that's fine. I don't intend to be shutting down any discussion of the pope, but I don't intend to start any, either.

I've presumably made it clear that I'm concerned, too. But there are a lot people who go well beyond that, to attacking Francis rather viciously. But I think a lot of them weren't really very happy with Benedict or JP, either.

Janet, I agree with everything you said, especially about my having been over-optimistic.

Donald McClarey has been taking the Pope to task on various topical questions. I would not call his commentary 'disgraceful'. The Pope brings these subjects up and gives evidence of having a mentality which has made the economic history of Argentina so edifying over the last 85 years. McClarey was particularly aghast when the Pope was peddling the idea that warfare and military expenditures are a consequence of the commercial interests of munitions and aerospace manufacturers, a discredited thesis from the 1930s which people like Michael Moore promote.

Catholic social teaching is something of an unfinished project and would benefit from a Pope with the sophistication to clarify matters. No such luck as we speak.

I don't know McClarey's writing and didn't have him in mind. I can't give you any specific instances because I don't remember now and digging them up would be engaging in exactly what I don't plan to engage in any more. But I don't think there's anything wrong with criticizing specific things Francis says. I share that particular one, in fact. What I'm talking about is, for instance, people who appeared to take a glance at Laudato Si and, maybe zooming in on one questionable assertion, write the whole thing off as left-wing environmentalist rubbish, when in reality there are valid and serious points there.

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