Friday, March 15, 2013

"Rise up and walk"

Walter Russel Mead has a deep insight into the election of Pope Francis to the throne of St. Peter:

G.K. Chesterton tells the story of the time that St. Francis of Assisi visited Rome and the pope of the day proudly showed him all the wondrous treasures of the Vatican. Referring to a story in the Biblical Book of Acts in which St. Peter spoke with a beggar in Jerusalem and told him he had no money, the pope pointed to the treasures around him and said, “Peter can no longer say ‘Silver and gold have I none.’” 
St. Francis’ response: “Neither can he say, ‘Rise up and walk.’” 
... St. Francis’ point was that the triumphal, institutional church of his day was prestigious and wealthy, but it had lost the inner fire and dedication that made Christianity a world-transforming faith. 
So now we have a Pope Francis, and we are about to see what he can make of the papacy, and whether the Catholic Church in his day will be able to rise up like the beggar and walk. In some ways, Francis was a typically canny choice by the oldest electoral college in the world.

The Church is a worldly institution, as well as a Spiritual Body, and it needs silver and gold to carry out its ordained mission. But perhaps we need a bit more of St. Francis-- a bit more radical sacrifice and love for the poor, a bit more self-abnegation, a bit more humility. The Church already has these charisms in spades-- more than any human organization. But perhaps we need to do even more, in the footsteps of St. Francis.

[W]hat we know of [Pope] Francis’s ministry in Argentina suggests that he knows that in Christianity doctrine, important as it may be, is not the heart of the matter. Christianity at the end of the day is about God’s all-forgiving, all-embracing, illimitable love. Love is the chocolate, doctrine is the box and the point of the doctrine is to protect the chocolate and keep it fresh for use, not to separate people from the feast God wants us to share. 
[Pope] Francis famously attacked, for example, the practice of some Argentinian priests who put obstacles in the path of single mothers seeking to baptize their kids. The then Cardinal Bergoglio’s response was pretty much what one suspects Jesus himself would say. As the Telegraph reports:

“In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptise the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage,” Cardinal Bergoglio told worshippers last year. 
“These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it’s baptised!” 
Recognizing a young unwed mother as a moral hero because she doesn’t get an abortion won’t win Francis many points with those who think there can’t be too many abortions (especially among the poor) in this wonderful world of ours, but this is the kind of perspective the Catholic Church, and indeed any human community, badly needs. And if one consequence is that more pregnant young women find networks of support and solidarity as they choose to bring new life into the world, [this blogger] for one will think an important corner has been turned.

A Pope who will turn the Church even more to the ways of St. Francis may well be the blessing for which we have prayed.


  1. Wow, bonus points for not punishing unwed mothers and their children. He also quietly sat on his hands while his fellow clergy where collaboration with the military torturing leftists. More bonus points for not torturing people. What a great guy.


    1. KW's little screed will be the norm from the left for Francis' Pontificate.

      The left hates the Church, and hates getting beaten, so when it has a chance to target both, it's a frenzy.

      Francis is a gentle holy man who did extraordinarily good work during the Argentinian resistance to communist tyranny. He worked for acts of mercy while not excusing or compromising with the leftists who murdered so many people in an effort to impose totalitarianism on the Argentinian people.

    2. You would think the church could find a pope that wasn’t in the Nazi youth or otherwise allied with a brutal right-wing regime. If this is the best they can do, it really makes you wonder what the real baggage looks like.

    3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyMarch 15, 2013 at 10:24 AM

      Beware. Troll crossing.

    4. WTF?

      Argentina's 'Dirty War' wasn't exactly a struggle against communist tyranny. It was a nasty civil war, pitting a right wing military dictatorship against a left wing terrorist and partly communist resistance.

      The sensible course of action would have been to have been non-partisan, deploring violence on both sides.

      I don't know about Francis I's actions in the 'Dirty War'. I'm prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt until better evidence turns up. He does appear refreshingly modest.

  2. Mike,

    That is a very interesting take on the reasoning behind 'Francis'. I am inclined to think that it's it is spot on. I specifically like his take on bastards and the sacrament. The shame is their parents, not their own. There is no reason they should not be baptised, confirmed, and take part in the Eucharist. I am also extremely impressed with his work with the poor.
    It is my deepest hope he takes these ideals with him to the highest pontificate of Rome.
    May God bless him and guide him. May the mercy of Christ fill him daily.


    You have not called him a homosexual yet! You feeling okay? Maybe you did not drink enough blood and urine at last night's mass?

  3. It's good to know that KW doesn't let lack of evidence stop him from making ridiculous accusations such as Francis I being a homosexual, or most priests being homosexual. No figures, no proof, just his firmly held belief. He takes it on faith.


  4. I’m not making excuses for child abuse, I’m just using child abuse statistics to illustrate how gay the Catholic Church is (not that there is anything wrong with that [except for the self-loathing hypocrisy]).

    In the U.S. female child sex abuse victims outnumber males 2:1, but when the perpetrators are members of the clergy, male victims outnumber females 10:1. Do the math. Members of the clergy are 20 times more likely to abuse boys than the general population. If the clergy is no more likely to abuse children than the general population, then the concentration of gays in the clergy is 20 times higher than the general population. By these numbers, they’re almost all gay.

    Little John, please be sure check the spelling and grammar for me. Is my use of Clergy better this time?


  5. @Joey: I guess what he's saying is that homosexual men, even in the presence of boatloads of other homosexual men, still choose little boys. I concur.


  6. I've long suspected that KW is an angry homosexual. He reminds me too much of my angry homosexual brother-in-law.


  7. But perhaps we need a bit more of St. Francis-- a bit more radical sacrifice and love for the poor, a bit more self-abnegation, a bit more humility. The Church already has these charisms in spades-- more than any human organization.

    You're deluded. There are thousands of human organizations far better than the utterly corrupt RCC.

    The new Pope was cozy with the fascist regime in Argentina, just like the RCC supported Francisco Franco's fascist dictatorship. You know, the Franco that Egnor thinks the world needs more of. For example, the new Pope refused to defrock the priest Christian von Wernich, who was jailed for life in 2007 for seven killings, 42 abductions and 34 cases of torture, in which he told victims: "God wants to know where your friends are."

    No wonder some protestants call popes the Antichrist.

    1. @KW:

      No organization on earth does more to materially help humanity than the Church. I note that you failed to mention any.

      The Argentinian war with communist terrorists in the 70's and 80's will become the obsession now with lefty Catholic haters. The Argentine juntas were clearly right to stop the communists, and the left was full of enablers and other criminals who helped the communist murderers with their assault on the Argentinian people.

      The communist insurgency was criminal to the bone, and deserves not a wisp of sympathy. They were the modern Bolsheviks and Maoists and Khmer Rouge, and thank God they were defeated. They murdered thousands of people and clearly planned the communist take-over of Argentina. The war was entirely started by them.

      The military did many very good and necessary things. It killed many terrorists in military and police actions, which is laudable, and it destroyed the terrorist networks and flushed out the terrorists' base of support. All good.

      There were some situations in which the military was too violent-- extrajudicial killings, and arguably torture in some circumstances. They should be, and have been, punished for such transgressions.

      The commie terrorist enablers have never been held to account in the same way. They should be.

      The Church was embroiled in all of this, nearly always on the side of law and prudence and mercy. There were some priests and religious who helped the terrorists-- they were criminals. There were some priests (many fewer) who helped the illegal measures taken against the terrorists, and they were criminals too.

      Bergoglio (Francis) had a consistent record of refusing to support the terrorists while calling for mercy and respect for law.

      He did an exemplary job.

    2. Could you provide a link for that? I doubt nearly everything you say because you tend to live in an alternate universe.

      By the way, the new pope has been the pope for all of about two days. I think you mean that he refused to defrock a priest when he was a cardinal. Cardinals don't defrock anyone. They can submit the paperwork to the Vatican but they can't defrock (laicize) anyone by their own authority.


    3. No organization on earth does more to materially help humanity than the Church. I note that you failed to mention any.

      I could mention Oxfam, Doctors without borders, Warchild, etc. You made the claim that the Church does more - it's up to you to prove it.

    4. No organization on earth does more to materially help humanity than the Church. I note that you failed to mention any.

      Any good work that the Church has done has been more than compensated for by their teaching the poor, often starving and aids ravaged communities of Africa that condom use is ineffective and a sin.


    5. Oxfam, DWB etc are wonderful organizations that help many people, like the Church.

      The Church is much much larger, much much more effective, and has been doing it much much longer.

      On condom use in Africa, the Church has insisted for 2000 years that chastity is the answer to sexual disease (moral and physical). The Church is right.

      If you (KW) insist on holding Church teaching on condoms responsible for the fallout from the sexual revolution, I insist on holding you responsible for the fallout from the promiscuity of the sexual revolution, which you teach and endorse.

      We'll take the hit for the condoms, KW. You take the hit for the promiscuity.

  8. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyMarch 15, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Time for some actual data:

    There are two major studies of sexual child abuse by professionals. One funded by USCCB at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY) (.pdf) and one funded by the US DoE to examine abuse among educators and conducted at Hofstra University (NY) (.pdf).

    Unsurprisingly (to me, at least), is that educators were actually more likely to be abusers (9%, American Assn Univ Women study) than priests (5% or less, John Jay).

    KW is, of course, welcome to cite the "studies" that he used to draw his conclusions. [heh]

    BTW, the cited reason for the perception that priests abuse more than public school teachers is simply journalistic focus and the public's availability bias.

  9. Nothing in my argument suggests “homos” or the clergy represent a unique threat to children. I was initially responding to Crusaders surprise that I hadn’t yet accused the new pope of being gay. My point is simply that the clergy has a far higher concentration of gays than the population in general, and to support that assertion I point out that the abusers in the clergy abuse boys 90% of the time while abusers in the general population abuse boys 33% of the time. If I accept the usual conservative argument that priests are no more likely to abuse children than the general population, these figures clearly illustrate the extraordinarily high concentration of gays in the clergy.

    So keep knocking down those straw men while ignoring my air-tight argument, I’m used to it.

    And no Trish, I’m not gay, and I couldn’t chose to be gay any more than a typical priest can chose to be strait.


    1. @KW: No, you're right, priests are no more likely to abuse than men of any other profession. You're reasoning for why they target boys is strange though. These priests are supposedly repressing homosexual urges, then join a seminary filled with other men who are suppressing homosexual urges, then--rather than indulging those urges with other priests who are having the same urges, or engaging in rest stop sex, or meeting guys on the internet--they rape kids. And this is supposedly the fault of the Church for objecting to homosexuality and requiring a vow of celibacy.

      Seems to me that these guys just like kiddies.

      Also you're extrapolating the sexual preferences of those who get caught banging kids (a small minority) to those who don't. There's a better explanation. All priests take a vow of celibacy but some priests are same-sex attracted while others opposite-sex attracted. It's the same-sex attracted minority that can't keep its hands off the children. You assume that because the majority of priests who rape kids prefer boys, that must mean that the majority of priests are attracted to males. Not a logical conclusion.


    2. It's quite likely that the priesthood has more homosexuals than the population. That said, the vast majority of priests-- gay and straight in orientation-- live their lives with integrity and holiness. I personally know priests who I suspect have a gay orientation-- they are very holy men for whom I have deep love and respect.

      It is clear that priests are no more likely to abuse children than men in other fields, such as teaching, etc, and in fact are almost certainly less likely to abuse children. Terrible things have happened in the Church, as terrible things have happened everywhere, and the measures the Church has taken are good and children are now almost certainly safer in the Church than they are anywhere else, including at home.

      In this post, I raised the point that it seems that the Church may take on more Fransiscan spirituality under Pope Francis, which I think would be a wonderful thing. Of course, the immediate response of the Catholic-haters is to call the Holy Father a fascist collaborator and priests homosexuals.

      The emphasis on this issue by Catholic-haters like KW and troy is simply more evidence of the raw hate these folks have for the Church.

      These accusations speak volumes about KW and troy and their ilk, and nothing at all about the Pope or the Church.

  10. “Also you're extrapolating the sexual preferences of those who get caught banging kids (a small minority) to those who don't.”

    No I’m not. I’m comparing the sex of the abuse victims for both clergy and non-clergy. Apples to apples. Almost all child sex abuse is done by men. If the sexual preferences of two groups of men are similar, we should expect that the ratio of the victims’ sex would also be similar, but they’re not even close, 90% male victims for clergy, 33% male victims for the overall population (which includes the priests pulling that number up!)

    Priests do sleep with other priests. One homosexual friend of mine said he never had more sex than the summers he worked as a counselor at a Catholic camp. Years ago, I asked a high school classmate why he dropped out of seminary, he said “because I’m not gay”. Anecdotal to be sure, but I doubt many priests admit to being gay on surveys, and I don’t feel like making this a research project. Besides, you only hear what you want to hear anyway.

    “the Church may take on more Fransiscan spirituality under Pope Francis, which I think would be a wonderful thing.”

    I agree, hijack over.


  11. were these comments that are attributed to St Francis not made by Thomas Aquinas when he called on Pope innocent who was counting lots of money? I mean I want to a student of History thus I detest what is confusing and untrue.

    1. Actually, St. Dominic when he was in Rome seeking approval for his Order of Preachers.