Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Never never never give in

From Bonald comes this essay on the Church's perennial temptation:
Despite Leo XIII  and his Secretary of State Mariano Rampolla’s endeavor, this policy of dialogue was a sensational failure and unable to obtain the objectives it proposed. The Anti-Christian behavior  of the Third Republic increased in violence, until culminating in Loi concernant la Séparation des Eglises et de l’Etat on December 9th 1905, known as “the Combes law” which suppressed all financing and public recognition of the Church;  it considered religion merely in the private dimension and not in the social one;  it established that ecclesiastical goods be confiscated by the State, while buildings of worship were given over gratuitously to associations cultuelles” elected by the faithful, without Church approval.
...The spirit of ralliement with the modern world has been around for more than a century, and the great temptation to which the Church is exposed to, is still [with us]. In this regard, a Pope of great doctrine such as Leo XIII made a grave error in pastoral strategy. The prophetic strength of St. Pius X is the opposite, in the intimate coherence of his pontificate between evangelical Truth and the life  of the Church in the modern world, between theory and praxis, between doctrine and pastoral care, with no yielding to the lures of modernity.
I love Pope Leo XIII's encyclicals but he's a good example of how the Church can and frequently does err on the paaaaastoral level. That's why I regard Pope Francis with such trepidation every time he opens his mouth. We often speak of doctrine and being pastoral as if the two were competing in a zero sum game. The more you emphasize doctrine, the more of a merciless hardass you are portrayed to be. The priest with the reputation for being pastoral is often willing to toss doctrine onto the pyre in the name of mercy. Priests have to constantly walk on eggshells so as not to offend the congregation. In practice, this ends up resembling Gnosticism: the common folk get the comforting platitudes while the hard stuff is only for the inner circle.

My three favorite popes are all named Pius: V, X, and XII. They all united the pastoral and the doctrinal to heroic degrees. Pius XII is sometimes described as the Last Prince of the Church. All of his successors have been reformers to one degree or another, with the reforms often proving destructive. Pius XII had the Nouvelle Theologie's number in Humani Generis. If you don't know what Nouvelle Theologie means, you'll see what it means in practice at most suburban parishes.

Never, ever compromise with the Left. Compromise always means that they get their way.

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