Does this guy sympathize with or decry what the Pope is doing? (I honestly, on re-reading cannot tell; his lone commentator seems to find herself in the same boat. Or should I say, "the same Barque"?)
And what is a "hard-core Catholic"? Someone who actually believes what he claims to believe?
I've always wondered how Protestants, ("hard-core" Protestants? those who essentially define themselves negatively, that is, in opposition to the dogma of the Big Dog of Christianity?) deal with this past Sunday's Gospel. Actually, I wonder how they deal with John at all.
But the absence of a tag to the story, something like Jesus running after folks, wincing and smiling at the same time, No, no, ya got it all wrong, come back, it's a METAPHOR!, surely gives them pause?
Back to the column in The Trumpet, I don't find the author's digest of Benedict's... whoops, I was about to use the metaphor that gets me in trouble, I won't call them "ballsier" .... whoops, I just did, ignore that... I don't find the author's summation of Benedict's more in-your-face actions and words over the past few years inaccurate or unfair.
And for a non-Catholic he really seems to understand the radical position of the Eucharistic Liturgy, that it is the root of everything else, of its fundamental importance to every facet of the Church's mission.
The Pope’s Challenge to the FaithfulI do get the impression that he might think the Catholics are running interference for the "true" Church, and I would quibble with his characterization of the Holy Fathers actions as an attempt to "expel" the less orthodox.
August 26, 2009 | From theTrumpet.com
“This saying is hard,” he says as he marches forward with his conservative agenda. “Will you also go away?”
Catholic priests are now encouraged to perform mass ad orientem—facing east, with their back to the people. ..
Pope Benedict xvi is leading the way, his back to the people, challenging them to keep up. Inside the church, he is continuing his decades-long campaign to expel liberals and stack the deck with conservatives. In Europe, he is working to reestablish a Catholic continent. Among non-Catholic Christians, he seeks to draw worshippers under papal authority. In the world, he is leveling a strong attack against secularism and godlessness. And to Islam, he has unmistakably shown a resistance, a toughness, that promises to grow stronger. He has repeatedly spoken out against those who would stand in his way, unafraid to offend, unafraid to turn opponents into enemies.
In March 2006, Ratzinger lashed out against European secularism—and Islam—with his book, Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam. Co-authored with the president of the Italian Senate, it addressed the “advance of Islam” ...
In September, Pope Benedict traveled to his home state of Bavaria for a six-day visit where, among other things, he spoke with German President Horst Kohler about the dangers of Islamic penetration into German society. His most famous speech on that trip was a lecture at the University of Regensburg...
In March 2006, Pope Benedict xvi chose to drop “patriarch of the West” from his lengthy list of official titles and became merely “Bishop of Rome, vicar of Jesus Christ, successor of the prince of the apostles, supreme pontiff of the universal church, primate of Italy, archbishop and metropolitan of the province of Rome, sovereign of Vatican City State and servant of the servants of God, his holiness Benedict xvi.” ...
In July 2007, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith restated the doctrines of Dominus Iesus, a document the pope—then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—had signed in 2000 to proclaim that non-Catholics were “gravely deficient” and that Protestant churches are “not churches in the proper sense.” ....
Mid-May that year, the pope traveled to Brazil to open an assembly of the Latin American bishops’ conference—not by invitation, but by personal choice. There he challenged the bishops to galvanize a continent-wide crusade against competing non-Catholic religions...
The pope has also resurrected [I would have said "reinvigorated" since, never having been murdered, despite assassination attempts, it was not in need of being resurrected] the Tridentine Mass.... The more inclusive, modern mass the church adopted in its place was scorned by hard-core Catholics, one of whom was a younger Joseph Ratzinger. [I don't think this is a fair characterization of Ratzinger's critiques of the Pauline Missal, at any point in his or its history] In July of 2006, Pope Benedict reversed that restriction, reconnecting the church to its medieval past. [The sentence would have read better and been more accurate without the word "medieval"]
The offense to Jews grew worse when, in February of 2008, the pope revised the “Good Friday Prayer for the Jews” portion of the Tridentine Mass. The new version reads: “Let us also pray for the Jews: That our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all men.” ...
Conservative Roman Catholics see nothing to balk at in praying that Jews would emerge from darkness. They see no problem with labeling non-Catholics gravely deficient. Catholicism, after all, is universalism. The church can never attain its universal potential—more are coming to believe—unless it stops pretending that those outside of it have access to God. [This is simply wrong, but I imagine it reflects the author's own denomination's theology]
While some take offense at the pope’s political incorrectness, an increasing number find it refreshing in a world sick with moral relativism. They appreciate his courage in turning his back to lead the congregation [love this image he has used several times] ...
This was the message of Pope Benedict’s sermon this past Sunday. He spoke of how Jesus’s saying offended many, who responded, “This is a hard saying! Who can listen to it?” The pope then said, “And from that moment on, many of His disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him. Jesus, however, does not lessen His claim. Indeed, He directly addresses the 12 saying, ‘Will you also go away?’”
This is the pope’s challenge to the faithful. “Jesus in fact is not satisfied with a superficial and formal following,” he said. Total devotion—even in opposition to non-believers—is required.
It appears they are accepting the challenge—and that, remarkably, their numbers are swelling. It’s been said that crowds came to see Pope John Paul ii, but they come to hear Benedict xvi. Over his pontificate, Benedict has consistently attracted larger audiences to witness his weekly homilies in St. Peter’s Square than did his predecessor.[There has been some questioning of the way the numbers at papal audiences are interpreted to prove one point or another. I have no opinion, so I don't wish to endorse his.]
As their devotion grows, so does the indignation of the pope’s growing list of opponents. And so too does the inevitability of a violent clash—prophesied in the Bible—between the church and its fiercest enemies, which are becoming more polarized before our eyes.
And that his looking forward to Armageddon shares a bit too much of the emotion with which a child awaits Christmas.