Aboard the papal flight from Romania — Pope Francis has criticized traditionalist Catholics who seek to “safeguard the ashes” of the past, saying the global church’s centuries of tradition are not akin to a container for preserved objects but instead like roots to be drawn on for future growth.
In a press conference aboard the papal flight back to Rome after his three-day visit to Romania, he singled out Catholic “fundamentalists,” who he said have a nostalgia for “returning to the ashes.”
Ed: reflect for a moment on the fact that here, Pope Francis is, yet again, rubbishing Catholic Tradition. Unsurprisingly, he departs from the teachings of the truly great popes, including saints and martyrs, the Fathers of the Church who went before him. Here’s a couple of examples…
St. Irenaeus of Lyons “Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient Churches with which the apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question? For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us writings? Would it not be necessary, [in that case] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they did commit the Churches?”
Pope Stephen I, to St. Cyrpian of Carthage “Let there be no innovation; keep to what has been handed down.”
“Tradition is the guarantee of the future and not the container of the ashes,” said Francis. “Tradition is like roots [of a tree], which give us nutrition to grow,” he explained. “You will not become like the roots. You will flower, grow, give fruit. And the seeds become roots for other people.”
Ed: what a load of… Talk about never saying two words when twenty will suffice.
“The tradition of the church is always in movement,” he said. “The tradition does not safeguard the ashes.”
Ed: by “ashes” we take it that he means the teaching of the Church, God’s revelation of dogma and the moral law…
St. Augustine “The customs of God’s people and the institutions of our ancestors are to be considered as laws. And those who throw contempt on the customs of the Church ought to be punished as those who disobey the law of God.”
The report continues…
Francis did not specify in his remarks whom he had in mind while speaking of Catholic traditionalists. But the pontiff has come under criticism during his six-year papacy from a vocal minority of Catholics, including some cardinals, who have expressed concern that he has not been clear in enunciating some of the church’s teachings.
Ed: don’t you just love the understatement? “Expressed concern”? We’ve got Catholics questioning whether or not he really IS a pope! Priceless. He’s widely considered the first Protestant Pope! It’s a tad more than a bit of concern. Trust me on this.
Francis spoke about the church’s tradition after being asked about his relationship with retired Pope Benedict XVI.
Ed: remember him? [pictured right]. He who asked us to pray that he “would not flee for fear of the wolves” and then did a runner?
Francis repeated his frequent characterization that having Benedict live in retirement at the Vatican is for him like having a grandfather at home. Francis said that going to speak with his predecessor always gives him strength.
Ed: hardly surprising – they’re both modernists. Only difference, Benedict at least looked the part, Francis… well…
“I feel the nutrition coming up through the roots, and it helps me go forward,” said Francis.
Ed: Oh, please…
St. Vincent of Lerins “I have often then inquired earnestly and attentively of very many men eminent for sanctity and learning, how and by what sure and so to speak universal rule I may be able to distinguish the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical pravity; and I have always, and in almost every instance, received an answer to this effect: That whether I or any one else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they rise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways; first, by the authority of the Divine Law, and then, by the Tradition of the Catholic Church.”
The report continues…
Among other issues he spoke about in the half-hour press conference, the pope also made an impassioned plea for Catholics to pray for the future of the European Union, which he said has “aged” and is in danger of being “overcome by pessimism.”
Ed: it’s in danger of falling apart, and all because it was a very bad idea in the first place…
In his first remarks about the 28-member block since European parliamentary elections last week resulted in gains for populist parties across the continent, the pope lamented the appearance of what he called “new borders” across the EU and said the organization “has lost the goal of working together.”
Ed: er…no… we just want to control our own borders and find new ways of working together.
“Europe is not being attacked by cannons or bombs in this moment but by ideologies, ideologies that are not European, that come either from outside or that stem from small groups,” he said.
Ed: by “small groups” he means, presumably the nation states like the UK who wish to make our own decisions, even our own laws! Cheek of us!
After referring to the tragedy of the two World Wars, he pleaded: “Please, let’s not return to this. Let’s learn from history. Let’s not fall in the same hole.”
“I would say to believers, ‘Pray for Europe … for unity, that the Lord will give us this grace,’ ” the pope added later.
Francis had been in Romania May 31-June 2 for a visit that focused both on encouraging the country’s minority Catholic population and reaching out to the 16-million-member Romanian Orthodox Church.
Asked about his May 31 meeting with Romanian Orthodox Patriarch Daniel, Francis called him “a man of great heart, and a great scholar.”
“He is also a man of prayer,” said the pope. “It is easy to get close to Daniel because I felt that he was a brother.”
Ed: well, yeah, he’s sure to be a “brother” – he’s a non-Catholic religious leader, for goodness sake! It’s only those pesky “traditional Catholics” who are not brothers or sisters, remember?
Francis said that ecumenical relations between Catholics and Orthodox are built by walking together, and by jointly serving those in need. “There is already Christian unity,” he said. “Let’s not wait for the theologians to come to agreement on the Eucharist.”
Ed: Excuse me? Is this a call to even more liturgical
“The Eucharist is celebrated everyday with prayer, with remembrance of the blood of our martyrs, with the works of charity, and also wanting each other to be well,” he added.
Ed: “our martyrs”? Are there schismatic “martyrs” in Heaven?
Francis also addressed the prayer service he and Daniel hosted together, in which the two leaders both recited the Our Father prayer in each other’s presence, but separately — the pope going first in Latin, followed by the patriarch in Romanian.
Ed: Latin? Latin, Holy Father… Latin? You serious? You are in our [vernacular] prayers… Worry not; you may still save your soul if you repent asap… Latin? Whatever next!
Some right-wing Orthodox consider it inappropriate for believers to pray with Catholics. The pope revealed that while the patriarch said the prayer in Romanian, Francis had said it again quietly in Italian. He said that from what he could see, “the majority” of the crowd gathered for the event at Bucharest’s new Orthodox Cathedral had prayed both times.
Ed: well, there you go. Not a wasted trip after all… Some folk said the Our Father twice! WOW!
“The people went beyond us leaders,” said Francis. “We leaders must have diplomatic balance, to ensure that we are going forward together. There are diplomatic rules that are good to safeguard, so as not to ruin the thing. But the people pray together.”
Ed: I’m running out of sarcasm. Help!
Making his first reference in the press conference to Catholic “fundamentalists,” the pontiff said that even some Catholics are “closed” on the issue of praying with Orthodox, thinking them schismatics.
Ed: and you – of all the popes in history – are here to tell us we’re wrong?
“There are Catholic groups who are a bit fundamentalist,” said the pope. “We must tolerate it, praying for them, so that the Lord and the Holy Spirit soften their hearts a bit.”
Ed: shucks thanks, Papa Francis. I now know why the blogger who emailed me this article wrote only one word in his message – “unbelievable”! Let me add with bells and ribbons on!
Comments invited – needn’t be terribly polite – just printable 😀