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Today is truly a special day.
On the one hand, we have the Peterson Effect transitioning into the ECCLESIASTICAL sub-set of human activity and creating a corresponding ++SarahEffect™. (see here)
And now we get new information (DATA POINTS) coming straight from the most trusted of FrancisSources, one Archbishop Victor “heal me with your kiss” Fernandez. (see here) This interview should be seen as a follow-up to the that interview that appears in the Deus ex Machina post titled The Loose Canon.
At first reading, by far the most important piece of information that this interview provides is the confirmation of the position that is held by Catholic writers and luminaries in their own right, such as Ann Barnhardt, Non Veni Pace, Mahound’s Paradise and the dean of the Catholic bloggers, Louie Verrecchio at the AKA Catholic blog.
The position that the good Archbishop confirmed beyond the shadow of the least bit of outstanding doubt comes via the following question and responce:
Journalist: Is it true, according to your experience, that in the Church today there is “confusion” after the publication of Amoris laetitia?
AVMF: Amoris laetitia implies a paradigmatic shift in the way complex situations are treated, even if this does not involve the opening of all doors. It certainly goes beyond the possibility for some remarried divorcees to receive communion. This shift, which prevents us from being hard and mathematical in our judgements, is very annoying for some. But the Pope had a note published in the “Acta Apostolicae Sedis” as “authentic magisterium”. Only the Pope can make such a decision and Francis did so. Therefore, there is no confusion.
The significance of what the good Archbishop has done with this answer is that he has accusing Jorge Bergoglio, the current bishop of Rome of being:
A FORMAL HERETIC.
This accusation by Archbishop Fernandez also aligns with the position of this blog which can be stated as follows:
There are many, many more significant DATA POINTS in this post, so please review and your humble blogger will follow up with post in the immediate future.
Fernandez, “Without the gaze of faith, the Pope is reduced to a character”
“The great saints and reformers, those who provoked real changes in the Church and in history, did not love slogans but gestures along with the gift of self. But for quite some time now we have been used to living with slogans in the Church”. Five years after the election of Pope Francis, Vatican Insider interviewed Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez, rector of the Catholic University of Argentina, and a theologian particularly close to the Pope.
How do you assess these first five years of pontificate? What has characterized it most?
I would rather not dwell on the results obtained in international politics, nor on the results that may have been achieved in the reform of the Curia or Vatican finances. Because this would imply a somewhat worldly vision. Let us leave it to the media to engage in these analyses. As Catholics, we believe in the mystery of the Spirit that loosens the knots and transforms reality in its own way and pace. If you ask me what Gandhi did, I could tell you that I can no longer remember exactly what he did and what he achieved. But I know beyond doubt that he has left a very important mark in history and that he has provoked changes that have changed humanity.
What is the most popular message inside and outside the Church?
In the case of Francis, I believe that his constant invitation, with words and gestures, to return to the Gospel‘s original freshness and to its heart made of mercy and justice for the weakest, will not be forgotten. At the same time, the call for a stripped Church, more joyful and able to open up to dialogue and service, will not end. Even if somebody in the future will try to go back in this regard, I believe that Francis’ great and irreversible reform, which has already been achieved, consists in the fact that a reversal will hardly be accepted. Who would ever think that after Francis, a papacy of condemnations parading power and wealth, that is not willing to dialogue with everyone, that ignores the weak of this world, could ever flourish?
What is the most important reform that Pope Francis wishes for the Church?
The deepening of what I have just mentioned. There are still many members of the Church who speak little about Jesus Christ, who do not show affection and admiration when they nominate Him, who prefer to judge the faults of others and present ethical norms as rock solid in order not to accept that vertigo one feels when proclaiming God’s unconditional love for each person, of transmitting Jesus Christ’s salvific and close love. At the same time, there are still many resistances to leave the comforting structures that give us security, but that ever more so attract less faithful.
Do you think there is a risk of reducing the Pope’s messages to slogans, which like all slogans end up becoming empty, that is to say to be used according to convenience, but without real change?
The great saints and reformers, those who provoked real changes in the Church and in history, did not love slogans but gestures along with the gift of self. For some time now, however, we have been used to living with slogans in the Church. For example, there are those who say that they are “pro life”, but prefer not to talk about immigrants, about the commitment to the poorest, the struggle for justice so that fewer people die because of malnutrition or illnesses that could be cured. That is a slogan. In the same way, others repeat phrases by Francis as slogans, and even speak of the “springtime of the Church”, perhaps not to come off as opponents or to secure some place in the Church, but if you look at their habits, their actions, their insistence and choices, they do not seem to correspond to the spirit of this Pope. It is a way of closing oneself to the transforming wind of the Spirit by being “politically correct”.
The media (but not only) have much-emphasized Pope Francis’s human and likable characteristics, which have made him a popular and beloved character. Do you not see the risk that he becomes too much of a “character”? And that, therefore, too much attention is focused on him and his person?
It is true. And yet with no doubt, he has never been fond of personality cult. When he appreciates someone very much, he says, “Humiliate yourself”. His being very close to people has to do with his recognition of the value of popular religiosity, and he wants his papacy to be an embodied sign of Jesus’ tender and merciful closeness. But whoever does not see all this from the point of view of the most authentic Catholic faith, ends up forgetting the purpose of everything, which is Jesus, and remains stuck on the character. It is like “being stuck looking at the finger pointing at the moon” like the ancient Zen proverb says. This implies a serious danger, because it produces the opposite effect: if they see an error or a weak point, or if one day the Pope does not smile because he feels weak or sick, his character breaks. Anyway, I see that within the Catholic sphere, Francis’ style is producing an irreversible de-idealization of the papacy. Until now, only few Catholics have been able to criticize the Popes, but now there is enormous freedom to do so without anyone being punished for it. This strip the figure of the Pope from that excessively sacred halo of a superior and untouchable being.
There are those who often speak – sometimes magnifying their importance – of the so-called “internal resistances”, phenomena that Francis’ predecessors have also known: how much do they count and how much do they affect the daily life of the Church?
They are much more damaging than before because of the enormous attention of the media and social networks. Few people previously read a newspaper. Today, however, there are many who follow the news on the Internet, and the media which generally highlights what makes a lot of noise, the negative things, the criticisms. Years ago, a very conservative and negative person would speak only with his wife, because not even his neighbours would listen to him. Now that person can open a blog, and spread even lies and slander, or unfounded suspicions, and he will always have readers. He can also devote himself all day long to commenting on Internet forums and have his voice amplified. The more moderate and serene people, who are the majority, seem to act less in this direction. In Argentina, where in recent years there has been a strong and persistent discrediting campaign in the media and social networks, the Pope has undoubtedly maintained an 80 percent approval according to the most serious enquiries. But that 80 percent makes little noise.
Is it true, according to your experience, that in the Church today there is “confusion” after the publication of Amoris laetitia?
Amoris laetitia implies a paradigmatic shift in the way complex situations are treated, even if this does not involve the opening of all doors. It certainly goes beyond the possibility for some remarried divorcees to receive communion. This shift, which prevents us from being hard and mathematical in our judgements, is very annoying for some. But the Pope had a note published in the “Acta Apostolicae Sedis” as “authentic magisterium”. Only the Pope can make such a decision and Francis did so. Therefore, there is no confusion. We already know what the Pope is calling for. Another thing is what you like or not like, whether you think this looks good or not. Therefore, one must not say, “It’s confusing”, rather, “I do not like this”. Or better, “I prefer a Church with more restricted norms.
The various reforms of the Roman Curia bodies are still on their way. How important are structural reforms?
These reforms are very important, but they are also the most “reversible”. Another Pope can come and create a huge Curia. In addition, the people who will be in these bodies will be decisive. But I believe that Francis was able to “de-idealize” the Vatican Curia – as well and forever, which should be seen only as an organization at service of the Pope, that does not replace the Pope or the bishops.
Can you tell us how the Pope lives the events linked to the scandals of child abuse committed by the clergy? The rules to combat this phenomenon exist, are there chances to change the mentality as well?
I know that he suffers a lot for this issue, because in this case the deep sense of priestly ministry, namely to “take care”, is destroyed. In Spanish this sense is emphasized, because the priest is called to “care”. The “care” characterizes priesthood and is very dear to Francis. I believe that the mentality is changing in this direction, although sometimes the processes need their time to avoid injustice.