Saturday, October 5, 2013

So about those interviews with the Pope...

This was a reconstruction, without notes taken or dialogue recorded?

By an 89 year old interviewer?

Now, the Pope nevertheless signed off on the interview. Still, not exactly encouraging in terms of organization.

16 comments:

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

It's listed on the Vatican website as an official speech of Pope Francis. If it's not what he meant to say, then it needs to be removed, but it hasn't been so it's legit.

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/speeches/2013/october/documents/papa-francesco_20131002_intervista-scalfari_it.html

Crude said...

Yeah, basically. But it's weird that we're now hearing about this. Who knows.

I really don't think Francis is as unorthodox as everyone is trying to make him out to be. I do think he wants to change how orthodox Catholics interact with the world.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

I think his idea of Catholicism motivates him to be orthodox to the orthodox and progressive to the progressive.

Crude said...

I'm not so sure. I think his idea is that everyone has dropped into a siege warfare mentality, with the orthodox using the hot button issues to determine not only orthodoxy, but sincerity of faith, and the liberals using orthodox to determine whether or not anyone even cares about 'gays, women, or the disadvantaged'.

Both ideas are flawed.

The Deuce said...

Hey, Crude. I think there's been a fair amount of "He's the Pope, so he couldn't have *possibly* meant what it sounds like he meant" going on.

What I mean is, if he were still just some Jesuit bishop that nobody knew about, and he gave an interview with those relativistic-sounding statements about morality, and the weird claim that the greatest evils facing society today are youth unemployment and lonely old people, and all of those other head-scratchers in that interview, I think just about every orthodox Catholic who read it would just roll their eyes and write it off as the typical watery relativism, heretical theology, and substitution of trendy progressive political causes for essentials of the gospel message.

But since he's Pope, everyone was like, "There's gotta be some context here. Surely the *Pope* couldn't mean that!" Now, I think that's actually justified to a degree, but I think it's definitely going on.

This new revelation adds a twist, but it's incredibly confusing. On the one hand, it's much less likely that Francis really uttered exactly those words, which is a relief to many (including myself, who I have to mention again, isn't actually Catholic, but has come to truly appreciate the Catholic church and many of its apologists in recent years, and moved towards Catholic theology myself in many ways because of them).

But it opens up other troubling thoughts. The obvious one is, why in the hell did Francis agree to this?!

Regardless of whether or not the transcript captures the basic gist accurately, it's simply dishonest of everyone involved to represent a paraphrase of a 4,000 word interview of the Pope by an 89-year-old atheist for a magazine that's deeply hostile to the Catholic Church as if were a transcript of the Pope's own words. On Francis' part, it implies incredibly poor judgement, if not dishonesty.

Additionally, if the transcript is basically accurate, and Francis really said something like those troubling things, we're still left scratching our heads and trying to "contextualize" them, while now also trying to figure out where the real words might be slightly different and less troubling. If the transcript is inaccurate and misrepresents Francis, it just makes his judgement look even worse for signing off on it.

Frankly, this whole thing is just a disaster, no matter which way you slice it. It's the responsibility of the Vatican to feed their flock, not leave them confused and demoralized. How hard is it to just ask for a tape recorder when interviewing with a hostile atheist mag? Sheesh!

Deuce said...

I think his idea is that everyone has dropped into a siege warfare mentality, with the orthodox using the hot button issues to determine not only orthodoxy, but sincerity of faith

Btw, while that shouldn't be the attitude that the faithful take to the outside world, I think there is some justification to having a siege mentality regarding progressives within the Church, for the reason that the orthodox really are under siege by them.

It's a readily observable phenomenon that when Progressives gain critical mass in *any* organization, whether it be a church, a university, a government, or what have you, they immediately start to persecute the orthodox, and ruthlessly stamp out dissent, until they've hollowed the organization out and destroyed it from within. Their whole "spread the narrative" ideology pretty much demands that they behave that way. They only talk a game of open-mindedness and need for dialogue until they get the upper hand, and then their totalitarian impulses come out every time.

So I think orthodox Catholics are quite right to worry that that's what they're trying to do, and to have their hackles up against any sign of them getting an opening to do so, because that's exactly what they're trying to do. And that's on top of all the many Scriptural warnings explicitly exhorting us to identify and expunge the false teachers from within before the wolves devour the flock.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Deuce:

...if he were still just some Jesuit bishop that nobody knew about, and he gave an interview with those relativistic-sounding statements about morality, and the weird claim that the greatest evils facing society today are youth unemployment and lonely old people, and all of those other head-scratchers in that interview, I think just about every orthodox Catholic who read it would just roll their eyes and write it off as the typical watery relativism, heretical theology, and substitution of trendy progressive political causes for essentials of the gospel message.

But since he's Pope..."


Eggsactly.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Accidental double post here? -->

And not to beat a dead horse, but the papal spokesman "Lombardi said during an Oct. 2 briefing that the text accurately captured the 'sense' of what the pope had said, and that if Francis felt his thought had been 'gravely misrepresented,' he would have said so." So there's no denying right now that the Pope stands behind what's in the interview, which is unfrotunate. I've got a post coming together about why I think his words on conscience are genuinely flawed and should not be given a pass as a model for Catholic witness to the world. He was speaking too loosely, significantly misrepresented Catholic teaching on a key point, and has not retracted or qualified a single point so far in all the tumult. He may be fully on board with the Catholic teaching on conscience (or [no snark!!] does he think it is too disjointed, small-minded and restorationist for our 'dynamic' modern world?), but for now it behooves me to stand on solid Catholic ground and keep other Catholics apprised of the perils involved.

It's fascinating to see all this happening; it seems right up your alley, Crude: tone, media relations, accuracy and image, online versus traditional press, etc. in modern evangelism.

Crude said...

Can only comment briefly for now, but...

What I mean is, if he were still just some Jesuit bishop that nobody knew about, and he gave an interview with those relativistic-sounding statements about morality, and the weird claim that the greatest evils facing society today are youth unemployment and lonely old people, and all of those other head-scratchers in that interview, I think just about every orthodox Catholic who read it would just roll their eyes and write it off as the typical watery relativism, heretical theology, and substitution of trendy progressive political causes for essentials of the gospel message.

The problem with this statement is it amounts to, 'They'd just have an instinctive reaction and not look at it or the history of the guy saying it closely.' But it's upon looking at it closely that questions pop up. Especially considering that Francis doesn't have the track record of a crazy liberal relativist.

What's more, I honestly have to say... I reject the idea that 'youth unemployment and care for the old' are mere trendy political causes. The youth unemployment is an odd choice - I would have thought 'poverty' itself would substitute - but they're still legitimate causes to be concerned about.

So I think orthodox Catholics are quite right to worry that that's what they're trying to do, and to have their hackles up against any sign of them getting an opening to do so, because that's exactly what they're trying to do. And that's on top of all the many Scriptural warnings explicitly exhorting us to identify and expunge the false teachers from within before the wolves devour the flock

Sure, and I defend the orthodox Catholics' worrying on that front. I do think they're overreacting. That's the problem - I have to balance the legitimate worries orthodox Catholics have (and I do think their worries are legitimate) with both what I consider to be bad moves on their front (I maintain that social conservatives have made a lot of mistakes in their evangelism) and extreme reactions/overreactions to the Pope's words.

I'm sidestepping the trap of 'The Pope is right, questioning him is wrong, especially when he says something liberalish!' or 'Everything the Pope said is wrong because he said something liberalish!'

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Crude: "...the trap of ... 'Everything the Pope said is wrong because he said something liberalish!'"

Well, I for one am certainly not saying that. In fact, I've decided I'm not even going to call them "the things the Pope said," "the Pope's remarks," etc., since that's too distracting. I'm just going to call what I'm talking about, say, "things that very many people have gleaned from published statements involving the Pope". I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that he doesn't believe some of the things that have upset people. Nonetheless, the genie's out of the bottle and those ideas are wreaking havoc in certain circles. So just think of what I'm doing now--this is how I'm thinking of it--as taking an opportunity to elucidate the Church's teachings in response to ideas that have been associated with the Pope's remarks the past couple months. I'm not interested in slandering the Pope, believe me. I'm just aware that I and other Catholics need to know where solid ground is amidst all the tumut (heck, it's also so non-Catholic Christians can get the straight dope, too, since the claims involved here in the orbit of the Pope have scandalized not a few of them either).

So.

My only interests are 1) not being talked down to or lectured as a bad Catholic because I see what's wrong with some key statements fluttering around the Pope's reputation and 2) seeing some kind of retraction or clarification of the Pope's statements by him or the Vatican on some of the things baffling the faithful. I want to have the onus of disagreeing with "the Pope" removed from my shoulders so I can get back to enjoying him as the Honey Badger Pope.

Crude said...

Codg,

That's not targeted at you. I've seen some crazy-ass people on the web who have been furious about this Pope, and in fact were furious before he said anything because 'He was chosen from South America, he's the Affirmative Action Pope!'

That's part of the problem here. There's 'People upset at what the Pope said' and 'People who are screaming that the Pope is a heretic', and in order to target one instead of the other I have to get really specific and throw in all kinds of qualifiers that is simply tiring.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Come now, I never assume you're targeting or belittling me and I hope the feeling's mutual. I just look at the logical options, stand by my convictions, and then write really long posts to lure others into my echo chamber. ;-)

Crude said...

Sure thing. I'm being careful because I'm finding it hard to take the position I am without ticking off one group or another unnecessarily, accent on the last word. It's maddening.

BTW, I loved the recent words from Francis you put up. That sort of thing is encouraging, and makes me think I really do understand what he's going for. If you think you are disheartened, think how how the Cult of Gnu must feel right now. When even liberals are celebrating this Pope.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

HONEY BADGER POPE!!!!

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

I think you're going to like my most immediately upcoming post.

Crude said...

I tend to like all of your posts, even the ones I may not totally agree with. I'll be looking forward to it.