In lieu of our continuing tour through Summa Contra Gentiles, this post. The site that hosts the book is having hiccups—a subject which I know all about. Let’s pray it’s back by next week or we’ll have to seek new a new source.
We have the right pope for our times. Stick with me because what I mean by this is subtle.
Background first. I was watching Michael Voris’s video (is it just me or does anybody else wish he’d smile every so often?) the other day about Bishop Athanasius Schneider and his statement that “We are in the fourth great crisis of the Church”.. His Excellency is the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan, and, reports are—I have this from people who met him—a most holy man.
What were the first three crises? Crudely:
- A bishop of the Church, Arius, decided the Christ was Superman but not God. And he got quite a few people to follow him, before he died a most horrific death. The Pope at the time, siding with Arius, actually excommunicated that most tenacious defender of the faith, Saint Athanasius (what would bloggers have said about this?). This was the first major split.
- Some bishops and priests of the Church thought the pope ought not to receive any special distinction and that the State should. This lead to the division of the East and West. The bright spot is that divorce is showing small signs of repairing itself.
- A priest of the Church, Martin Luther, was dissatisfied by the way the Church ran its business (a healthy complaint), but he also thought it would be grand if everybody could eschew tradition and interpret the Bible as they may. This would be like allowing civilians to define, say, quantum mechanics as the spirit moves them—which happens and is how we ended up with Deepak Chopra, and with innumerable Protesting Christian sects, most of which are filled with earnest, and honest, and faithful people, a circumstance which is not stopping them from melting away like the wicked witch of the West.
Bishop Schenider says the fourth crisis is caused by certain priests and bishops of the Church embracing a “new paganism”. This is so but perhaps there exists better, more evocative names. I think loss of essence superior.
It is the essence of man to be a rational creature. It is his nature to procreate: the division of the sexes is part of this nature, and must be acknowledged. Marriage must be the union between a man and woman, and because the essence of this union is procreation, the mating must be for life and should be without impediment (there’s a good euphemism for you). That means families are a natural part of our existence (acknowledged since Aristotle’s day, rejected finally in ours). Holding to essence—to natural law, that is—logically implies that any situation differing from these must be against Truth and should be resisted.
Western culture is running away from essence faster than a congressman does his obligations. This is why there are members of the Church saying that women can be priests (funny they never argue men should be nuns), that contraception and abortion are hunky dory, that those with same-sex attraction are not harming themselves or others by acting on their lusts and that their unions of two (for now) should be blessed in the Church. This is why they are saying divorce is okay, why “gender” is something we construct and is not based in biological reality.
You know the rest. Disbelief in essence, wedded to a profound manic irrational desire for Equality in everything, defines The Crisis. If not contravened, it will corrode the Church—and the whole of the West, too, for that matter.
Now to the Pope. Anybody who follows the Church knows that Pope Francis likes to shoot from the hip—whether he’s wearing his pistols or not (I can torture metaphors better than most). Harsh, perplexing words come out of his mouth one day, which are followed the next by corrections and amplifications; not from the Pope, but from his staff and others.
Last October, the Synod on the Family Part I resulted in a comic spectacle where modern versions of Bishop Arius released a document which not only denied the essence of man, but said that man was of a fluid, self-defined nature. From this it somehow followed that those who prefer sex outside marriage have special “gifts and qualities” with “sexual orientations” which should be “valued”. (The final relatio was modified, to a certain extent, but the writers of the first draft still exist.)
The Pope doesn’t correct himself publicly. He is seemingly content to let both the right and the left applaud or react with dismay. Yet his behavior has particularly emboldened the left. Gone are the whispers for female ordination and blessing of same-sex attraction: now come defiant public pronouncements and demands.
The Pope has succeeded in drawing the enemies of essence into the open. The enemies of natural law have left themselves with no retreat. Whether the Pope did this out of cunning or merely because the Holy Spirit knew what He was doing (or both) is beside the point. This is the right Pope for our time. What does it all mean?
The Synod reconvenes this October. Since the Church is not a political organization but the Body of Christ, the result must be the upholding of doctrine. Dogma will not change. It can’t. To say that this will not please the new pagans in the Church (I saw nothing about the opinions of those outside her walls) is as gross an understatement as claiming our National Debt is harmless.
Shocked horror. Panic. Actual fainting. Torn and abandoned vestments. Weeping and gnashing of teeth. A split; schism, even. Those who would align themselves with the decadent culture, those who would be “on the right side of history“, those who would abandon their very nature will throw a conniption fit more powerful than the eruption of Vesuvius. It will wondrous to watch.
The only uncertainty is tempo. No previous crisis played out in Hollywood time, thus it is rational to conclude this spiritual civil war, which Bishop Athanasius said started the first time somebody said “spirit of Vatican II”, will be years of calumny and heartbreak. How many? Five? Ten? Twenty? You tell me.