Open Season or No More Blanket of Protection?

I followed a Catholic Herald link to these Rorate Caeli musings that it now, somehow, open season on conservatives. Whatever that means.

Church politics is always complex. I suspect that it might be less a shift and more about a removal of certain protections to individuals and groups that might have existed in 2005-13. Or before that, even.


Do we interpret the fall of the Legion of Christ as open season, like it was some kind of an international turkey shoot? Or did an immoral and criminal leader lose a major ally?

The impression is that the work accomplished by Benedict XVI to give citizenship back to various sensibilities within the Church is about to be cancelled. What a shame! It was in fact Vittorio Messori, a long time ago, that the Catholic Church is based on the et-et [and-and: and the one, and the other], on the living together of Catholics who are diverse, but united, while the sects are the ones that practice the aut-aut [either-or: either the one, or the other]. Pope Bergoglio certainly does not want a Church of the aut-aut; but perhaps there is a problem of “Bergoglistas”, by conviction or by opportunism, who think they will meet his favor.

800px-Lautrec_in_bed_1893An interesting perspective, but one with which I think many Catholics might disagree.

I think with the shift in administration, and some different truth-telling about things, that some of what was considered moral, acceptable, and laudable may no longer be considered so.

It’s too bad that such judgments depend on the person in charge. If only more Christians were strong and self-secure enough that they didn’t require the leadership of another to set the tone in all or most things.

As for me, I don’t think the new pope has changed the tone of this blog very much. I’ve said and written the same things I said and wrote under the past two popes. Maybe it’s less likely I’ll get bounced out of a job these days. Maybe some conservative Catholics grit their teeth a little more because they might think they no longer have the one who warms the Chair of Peter in their back pocket.

Another difference is that while I might admire Pope Francis, and I think I make a better effort than some to understand his Ignatian training in practice, what he says and does shouldn’t really make a huge difference in my life. I’d like to think I’ve been practicing a more mature Christian discipleship as a family man and as a church minister anyway. It seems pretty easy to discern who depends more on external human forces for their self-regard than an inner orientation to Jesus Christ and what he urges us to do on his behalf.

And while I’ve been told that it is customary in some circles to refer to the ministries of popes by their family name and not their taken name, I do notice that the citation above mentions “Benedict” and “Bergoglio.” Some people, clearly, haven’t gotten over the winter and Lent of 2013, and have not, for all their self-professed Catholicity, totally gotten behind a Church led by a person with whom they disagree.

Interpret that as you will. I think the blanket is no longer snugly.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Church News, Commentary, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Open Season or No More Blanket of Protection?

  1. Interesting timing, Todd, I had just finished reading the last three entries at RC before my usual tonic of coming here. I don’t think that they/he at RC have any more of a monopoly on hyperbole than other critics. But I do think your fisking (complete with hunting rifle!) actually is very wide of the mark and point of RC’s concerns. Your commentary is Francis-focused as I took it, whereas RC was clearly indicting the curial courtiers who, in RC’s opinion, are using SOP intrigue, half-truths, and sycophancy to suppress and oppress specific clerical targets. Add to that the mention of Dolan’s ad hoc yanking of the UN mission priest in a manner not unlike how the Baltimore Colts got outta Dodge at Midnight, and there remains reasonable right to question of the “seemliness” of the inattention of the Holy Father to such matters, and whether all the Machiavellianism ought to redown unto him. And the reference to the same sort of disassociation with important offices and their doings to the White House climate over the last two years is, to this viewer, an apt comparison.
    Truth and transparency seem in short supply in institutions occupied presumptively by people of impeccable credentials and character.

  2. Todd says:

    And yet, Francis doesn’t strike me as a person likely to be taken in by courtiers. We certainly have evidence that his two predecessors were indeed duped by unscrupulous characters.

    I confess I didn’t follow that story about the South African priest. My sniffer suggested this was more a last straw than a first, forgivable offense. It’s likely that as with the Franciscans, there’s a lot more going on than what RC has been harping on. These peeps like to play victims as well as any whiner and crier on Oprah or Ellen or Donohue.

    With well over a half-century of parish ministry under our two belts, you and I have seen a lot of this in our parishes over the years. We’ve worked with guys who were completely taken in by people who knew how to push the right buttons. They were, in effect, running the parish via a shadow magisterium powered by gossip and innuendo.

  3. Liam says:

    Totally on board with advocating maturity and detachment here.

    On the issue of the Pope’s surname as a handle: RC also referred to Pope Ratzinger and the Ratzinger Pontificate when B16 was Pope non-emeritus. It’s a Continental practice, especially popular among Italian Vaticanistas, that RC grew to affect. It’s not disrespectful. It is, for a largely English-language audience, an affectation. Along with others.

  4. “It’s too bad that such judgments depend on the person in charge. If only more Christians were strong and self-secure enough that they didn’t require the leadership of another to set the tone in all or most things.”

    I actually find myself wishing that Catholics would ignore Pope Francis, just a bit. Hear me out. It was Jimmy Akin’s post about the pope commenting about breastfeeding in Church that crossed the line for me. Jimmy Akin felt the need to break down his comments on the Register, as though breastfeeding in church was a controversial or potentially faith shattering. I don’t see the point. Why does every single thing that Pope Francis says have to be parsed and analyzed like tea leaves or flying birds or entrails? As other writers have pointed out, for centuries Catholics barely even knew who the pope was! I don’t think we should go back to this, but I think we could stand to ignore what he says occasionally.

    I’m just glad he hasn’t mentioned The World Cup. I don’t want to hear people analyzing what his prediction for each group means to the average Catholic in the pew. Or doing damage control as to why he picked which country.

  5. RC, as I hope you deduced, I’m not unsympathetic to hearing your POV in the slightest.
    What disturbs me is that you’ve shut down commentary at your joint but have no compunction whatsoever to draw lines over “who said what” here at Todd’s place?
    Can you explain that? Here or at your place?

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