Sunday, September 10, 2017

Lovers or fighters. . .

Nearly everyone knows that Missouri is known more for fighting than loving.  While this is a typical characterization, it is not always accurate.  Besides, what may characterize a church body on a national level is not necessarily reflective of the individual congregations.  But I will not deny that Missourians seem to relish a good fight.  Apparently, we are not the only ones.

It seems that Francis has brought out the worst in Rome.  He has bypassed the people he has put in charge, hired and fired right out from under those who were supposed to be in charge, raised trial balloons about everything from reconciling divorced to welcoming LGBTQ to intercommunion with Lutherans -- only to distance himself from things when they seem to get too controversial.  He has said strange things to stranger individuals (via phone calls and interviews) while trying to master the photo op and the impromptu press briefing.  He has challenged capitalism and remained mute before the sins of socialist or fascist economies.  He has sent an olive branch to Muslims while condemning his own curia in very harsh terms.

Now it seems that he has taken after Protestants and some fairly big guns in American Roman Catholicism as extremists who seem to cater to hate and division.  In the Jesuit newspaper La Civiltà Cattolica (sometimes called a ghost voice for the Vatican) Francis seems to have used other voices as a proxy for his own opinions, in this case written by the editor in chief, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, and Argentinean edition editor Rev. Marcelo Figueroa.  Their article, “Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A Surprising Ecumenism” is an untypical rant of changes and unfounded characterizations laced with contempt. It yokes both Protestant and Roman Catholic support for American conservatism has little more than an “ecumenism of hate.”  Strong words for a Vatican accustomed to dealing with the art of diplomatic nuance.

In any case, it appears that this pope has added fuel to the fires burning in Rome and wherever Roman Catholics are battling over worship, economics, sexual politics, and more.  Francis has proven not to be a uniter.  In fact, just the opposite, he has drawn otherwise rather dull and staid Roman Catholic institutions into the fray.  Who knows where it will end.  In America we have bishops across the Hudson River taking markedly different positions on the question of the proper attitude of Rome to the whole sex, gender, and preference debate.

Maybe Missouri will have to surrender our title as the fighting church to Rome.  In everything from female acolytes to which side the altar the priest stands to the rather predictable sex issues, Rome is gearing up for a fight and at this point in time I have no idea how it will end.  The longer Francis remains, the more likely the progressive side may prevail.  I guess it is a wait and see proposition.


Anonymous said...

The biggest fans of Pope Francis are the Cafeteria Catholics who pick
and chose what to believe in their church. Nobody has every accused
Pope Francis of being an intellectual theologian. He is a Socialist
street fighter from South America who enjoys going a few rounds in the
boxing ring.

Carl Vehse said...

Who gives a squat load about Antichrist Frankie and his Tiber-wading sycophants?

Today when Missourians fight to retain Lutheran doctrine and practice it follows a tradition of Martin Luther that has carried on through to Dr. Carl Vehse and his fight against the Stephanism of the Missouri Saxons and later to C.F.W. Walther and the Missouri Synod and their battles with Grabauites and Loeheists, and in the last century, the Seminexers, RIMmers and 'Us-First Schwärmer.

Anonymous said...

Anglicans don't fight because they are one big tent:

What is the biblical justification for allowing Women's ordination, but not allowing such women to be promoted to bishops?

Anonymous said...

It does not matter what the Pope may say or do. Rome is another big tent, full of Cafeteria Catholics.

If people are leaving Rome, they are joining the Evangelical megachurch - Another big tent where anything goes!

Padre Dave Poedel said...

Larry, are we talking about the same Pope? I really like this guy! No, he is not as disciplined as B16, but he has the heart of St JP2, and the compassion of his chosen namesake. I like his impromptu responses to the individual pastoral situations that present themselves.

I suppose the reasons I like him is that I am an awful lot like him, which is why I stay local in my involvement in our beloved Synod. I can be open, compassionate, welcoming even if all of the “i” and “t” details remain unresolved. That is what a parish does, and Francis is, at heart, a parish pastor who happens to be Pope. Too bad for him...maybe he is the original “Peter Principle” victim. I wouldn't want his job, I don’t think any of us in the parish would. Those who are called to that kind of leadership must be groomed for years to prepare them for the spotlight and the magnifying glass of Episcopal leadership.

Don’t be so rough on him, my brother, as he is not “ours” to criticize. I give him the same benefit of the doubt I give our own Synodical leadership....I wouldn’t accept election to any such thing... not that I have anything to worry about in that regard.

I have discovered that the best pastoral office is “Emeritus”! I get to serve parish vacancies, help my brothers by giving them a weekend or vacation week off, and be somewhat of a sage in Winkels. I am loving it!.

ErnestO said...

Old Spanish saying "It is one thing to talk of bulls, it is another to be in the ring."

Pope Francis needs our prayers not our judgments.

Anonymous said...

Pope Francis has shown repeatedly what he does with those who disagree with him. He is ruthless and intolerant. He has shows his brutal exercise of power. Padre Dave is like the shallow media to only pick up on certain lines and needs to talk with actual Roman theologians who see what's going on. Or just do more "google" research. Perhaps only if Lutheran and Romans cared about the truth of Jesus and His Word? The most dangerous thing in the world to Jesus is....FALSE TEACHING, that they wouldn't act on one extreme of "rule above God's Word" as Francis and the other extreme of "apathy to God's Word" of Padre Dave.

Padre Dave.."the heart of St JP2" is that the same JP2 heart that personally, intentionally protected pedophile bishops, cardinals, and priest during the mass child abuse ring and was very involved in the institutional corruption and evil policies of protecting pedophiles during his reign of pope? What a guy!