Saturday, September 21, 2013

Infected by the Zeitgeist

An article on Francis The Talking Pope* referred to one of the 1960's Vatican II documents, Gaudium et Spes, which was a blueprint for the Church's attitudes toward "the modern world."

I ran through it. It's been many years. Godawful. It practically canonizes a particular attitude toward what is assumed to be some kind of identifiable "new age" of mankind. Despite the occasional theological disclaimers, it is fundamentally a progressive text, where "the signs of the times" --a New Testament phrase made gruesomely unbearable by hippy dippy nuns-- dominate. If you take out the God-language, most of it could have come from a United Nations sub-committee. Sadly, it was largely the baby of the Latin Americans and the French and Dutch Dominicans.

Even one of the giants of the post-Vatican II progressives, theologian Karl Rahner, said that it seemed unaware of the power of sin in the world and in all human undertakings:
“Something of the Kennedy era pervaded the Council, something of the na├»ve
optimism of the concept of the great society. It was precisely the break in historical
consciousness, the self-tormenting rejection of the past, that produced the concept of a
zero hour in which everything would begin again and all those things that had
formerly been done badly would now be done well.”

*The MSM piece was puzzled that the Pope, on the very day after he criticized people who are obsessed with "small rules" then launched out onto a very definite attack on abortion, as an attack on Christ himself. Since abortion is about "small rules" for them, they figured it must be "an olive branch thrown to conservatives." When I say I have more respect for whores than for journalists, I am not kidding.

Catholic righties are horrified inside at Francis, but  because of their Pope-reverence they insist that it's just a change of tone, not teaching or they'll say, with an uneasy smile, "Well, he's just trying to shake us all up a little."  Catholic lefties, still in denial about the dogmatic-hierarchical-sacramental triad that constitutes Catholicism, hang on every cool and groovy little thing he does in order to announce the return of The Sixties and this pope as John XXIII ReDivivus.

The MSM will fit any piece of info at all into their pre-existing cartoon narrative, so on one level he is bound to be misinterpreted by them no matter what he says. Benedict was a Nazi monster and Francis is an avuncular cool guy. And Jesus was really a proto-hippy. But like so many extravert feeling types, with an irresistible compulsion to express themselves all the damn time*, this man is a Wunderkind of confusion. He seems to have no idea of, or care about, the uses that will be made of his words.

*My former partner, a serious EF, once told me that if he felt something and didn't express it, it was like a swarm of bumble bees in his mouth. Having been stung many times, I knew he was not kidding.



Anonymous said...

I think it was in Matthew that Jesus said, "be as wise as serpents and innocent as doves." Too many Catholics (and Protestants, which I do not think is a coincidence) focus on the latter command. Not the Orthodox. I remember having to do a report on the Orthodox church in grade school and having to dress up as an Orthodox patriarch (so yes, I've been impressed with their aesthetics for a long time). On the Orthodox equivalent of a crosier, there are a pair a serpents, reminiscent of the staff of Hermes, which are a direct reference to that line. It's been my experience that Orthodox are not idiots, and aren't nearly as prone to hippy-dippy social justice causes as Catholics. If it weren't for their objection to homosexuality (which may be even less mutable than Catholicism's, if that's even possible), I would probably be having serious conversations with my family about wanting to start attending an Orthodox church.


OreamnosAmericanus said...

Like all human communities, they do have their own special brand of crazy --their internal politics is nuts--, but they do seem indeed far less vulnerable to the Gaudium et Spes kinds of "hippy dippy social justice causes."

Anonymous said...

Good point. I guess that is a benefit of barring clergy from political office: church unity is not sacrificed for national interests. From what I've heard, their political intrigues are far more, well, Byzantine than anything Catholics can cook up. Which carries it's own set of problems, I'm sure.


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