Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Francis Effect


'The Francis effect' can be overstated, I have not experienced a great surge in those seeking God's mercy in Confession over Christmas for example or the rise in Mass attendance, I think maybe priests in Rome might, and to some extent the rest of Italy too. Certainly one of my hopes, I expressed before the Conclave, was that the new Pope would strengthen his own diocese. A few of my parishioners are young Roman Catholics and their families seem to be deeply taken by their new Bishop. Amongst the Roman clergy there seems to be a certain ambivalence from what I have heard, it began with the Pope choosing not to wash their feet on Holy Thursday and like most clergy, the older ones are glad to return to the 1970s/80s, the younger ones ordained under JPII and Benedict are as confused as the rest of us by where we might be being taken. Secular clergy tend to have difficulties with religious, especially Jesuit bishops.

The obvious Francis effect is in the media's attitude to the Catholic Church, one signifier is the move of John Allen from the NCR to the Boston Glob., Francis has moved the media on if not the Church. As one commentator said 'he answers the questions people are asking'. By refusing to be confined to questions about abortion, contraception, homosexuality he is able to suggest that the Church has an interest poverty, unemployment, economics. These are issues Benedict raised but the he was elected after the declining years of JPII the world's media was already into 'hate the Church mode', the child abuse scandal had already broken and was the maelstrom Benedict's Papacy was caught up in. Would I be wrong to suggest that most journalists are looking for an alternative to what the world has to offer?
Pope Francis gives a lamb a lift during a  visit to a Nativity scene at the Church of St Alfonso Maria dei Liguori Below: Francis chats to two children taking part in the nativity (CNS)
Personally, Francis makes me question how I treat the poor but then I follow what he says pretty closely, I get annoyed by his nagging tone but he is Pope, I worry about his lack of English and lack of an understanding of Europe and North America and the power he gives to his lieutenants and the sense of nepotism I pick up. But in many ways I hope he will go further than he probably will. I recognise I will either be disappointed or discomforted.

Unlike other voices on the world stage Francis has something radical to say, there is now a novelty in the Christian message uttered in an essentially post Christian society. In the West where the only big idea most politicians can can come up with is about 'equalities' issues, which is ultimately bankrupt, and is really an increasingly minority interest the further it extends down the LGBTBC.... spectrum until it ends up in the yuk factor, when it touches what most people, even at the beginning of that spectrum would consider as perversities. Christianity if it is radical enough is subversive, the naked girls Femen dancing on the High Altar of Cologne Cathedral are not radical merely the daughters of the new Establishment.

I want Francis to confront the world with its own hypocrisy and to suggest that Christianity offers a new radical vision of humanity, something that is is not based on an economic well being but on human dignity. The decision to call the Extraordinary Synod on the family could be a master-stroke. In my parish I see women, often alone, desperately struggling with balancing child care and career often in a situation of if not poverty then certainly economic difficulty, there is real need for a new 'feminism'. One of the most exciting parts of our marriage course is the part on Natural Family Planning, not because couples want to 'space'  their children but because they have left building a family to middle-age and are desperate to conceive. They have swallowed the contemporary lie concentrated on wealth and career rather than relationships and children. Indeed the problem with the elderly is essentially loneliness which isn't solved, except superficially by an economic solution. I really am sick of hearing of the premature deaths of young men, almost half of the funerals I did last year were of young men who died at their own hands either directly through suicide or indirectly through addiction. Societies big problem is loneliness and isolation, spiritually it leads to sin, socially it leads to pain, dysfunction and the grave. It is something religion can deal with but not governments unless they are willing to shed an immense of baggage and start rebuilding society from the soul up, through personal relationships and the family and social responsibility.

This morning 'S' came to the door to say 'good-bye' and to collect a rosary. He was hungry, he stole a couple of sandwiches, he was put on probation, he failed to turn up to an interview, he is homeless and has mental health issues, he was confused or forgot, he now faces custody, he was on his way to turn himself in to the police - pray for him. His story can be repeated time and again, it shows not just injustice but a casualty of our society. I don't know how one deals with him but obviously neither does society, the Gospel tells us he needs to know the mercy of God, loving and friendship, kindness and healing, prison wont help.

It isn't the place of the Church or the Pope to come up with practical solutions but to confront the world with its evils, not necessarily by entering into a discussion about those evils but by offering the beauty of an alternative - the love of the Incarnate God and the teaching of the Gospel.
I like the idea in Matthew's Gospel that the Magi search for the Messiah at Herod's court and in doing so unleash the 'massacre of the innocents', leaving the obvious place to find a king the resume following the star and find the child with his mother in Bethlehem.

45 comments:

  1. Why isn't it for the Church to come up with practical solutions? Can we not set up farms or houses along the lines of the Catholic Worker along the lines that Dorothy Day instigated? These young men, the lame, the halt, the undeserving, the insane need the practical help of the Church along with the spiritual.

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  2. Jackie,
    Christians can and should do everything but it isn't for the Church or Pope to micromanage.

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  3. Fr. Blake you need not feel guilty about how you treat the poor, from what I have seen and experienced you get an A+ from me. If everyone did

    what you and your parish do the world would be a far better place.

    As to folks like S, governments all over need to set up "free" counseling centers for them, because their problems will be FAR more expensive on

    the tax payers dimes than if they concentrated on trying to fix the underlying problems. The reason so many of them drink/or do drugs is the

    hopelessness of their situations. MIND you, plenty of people with good paying jobs screw upheir lives with drink/drugs too. Cocaine chic isn't so

    chic when they OD or get caught and lose their jobs and everything.

    I personally do find Pope Frank an irritating nag. I've met crotchety old women who weren't so finger waggy. Also, You don't lift people up in

    the liturgy towards God when you come down to sit-around the coffee table level. I find it extremely irritating that by the example Pope Frank

    is setting is that he seems to think he is "reaching down to their level" as to worship style, but it's NOT uplifting towards God or inspiring.

    Why he assume just because someone is economically poor that they a) must have bad mundane artistic senses, or are automatically stupid, I have

    no idea. I find his attitude patronizing at worst, extremely naive and ill informed at best. If you want "fellow ship" a pub would better serve

    you, if you want to connect with God on a sublime level seek the BEST, not the common place.

    He does things scattershot with little regard to the weight his words have, and the liberal press, ever gleeful to sew confusion glom on to his

    at best ambiguous words, and they spread rumors the church is going to think about permitting gay marriage, women priests, and all sorts of

    claptrap. He doesn't do himself any good by remaining silent when they issue forth with these backhanded swats at the church. The problem with

    concentrating on "social justice issues" as Pope Frank seems to, mean the church is just another social agency, and a social agency with little

    understanding of human nature or economics. Pope Frank seems to be exhibit "A" in the latter category. He needlessly ticks off the very people who can help the most by castigating instead of catching more flies with honey.

    I think most of us are familiar with the annual in person visit from a missionary priest. [at least those of us in the western world] The BEST sermon like that I ever heard from a visitor was not one who nagged [like Pope Frank would] "Oh, if you just gave up X for the month of 'whatever I think is frivolous that you don't need' you could give me the money" - trying to guilt trip people. He simply stated "here is what our parish takes in, here are the types of people we serve, here is the type of training for these people we are trying to provide, or the clean water wells (or education or whatever) we are trying to assist with to makes these people's lives better -- and ANY help you can give us would be greatly appreciated, thank you can God bless we will pray for you as we hope you will pray for us." End of. Biggest collection haul EVER that I did see for a sermon like that.

    Take heed, Pope Frank, and for love of God, stop being a fishwife. "Guilt trip" just ticks people off.

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  4. most of us are a moon or two away from homelessness. Since we've a middle class (for all the commies out there, an undeniably good thing) havens are to be found.

    the doubt the pope praises seems a luxury.

    p.s. Dorothy Day was a socialist who held views that would crucify Christ. but we live in an age where natural law F - for finance - is a 'common good (as defined by Mr Marx of the no-Christ) - and therefore good enough for the parish doubt; while natural law - ssm, et al is REdifined and confusingly pastoralised as 'real' > sin.

    time tells one that responsibility has more to do with Christly love than the endless misuses of the English word 'charity'.

    For the lost, confused and called some ordinary time in a Franciscan of the Immaculata monastery could be a God send.

    too bad...such a human folly to blitz the cure before our satan-centered souls catch up to the fact we need it. God IS good. we, not so much.

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  5. p.s. how much contemporary-social-media-miley-cyrus-post-g-steinem was this (when she's sixty and regretting...or maybe not) victim of the V for vendetta withoutacause, on?

    but for the Grace of God. Lord have mercy, and Lord put down the hard word on double-double-toil-and-troubleites who conned her into it.

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  6. Viterbo - Dorothy Day was a former socialisDorothy's Spirituality

    Two broad spiritual streams came together in Dorothy Day's character, and each stream contributed to her spirituality. As an American born into a Protestant family that valued education and literacy, she was a pragmatist, a worker, and a woman of action. After her conversion, these traits united with the traditions of Roman Catholicism: the teachings of the papal social encyclicals, the sacramental and liturgical life and sense of sacramentality, and the devotion to and imitation of the saints and mystics. Dorothy's love of the Scriptures came from her Protestant roots and predated the widespread use of the Bible by lay Catholics.t.

    http://www.catholicworker.org/dorothyday/ddbiographytext.cfm?Number=3#spirituality

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  7. What the Church needs is Saints. During my youth, what I found so inspiring about JPII, Mother Teresa, and later Benedict XVI, was the fact that their lives made NO SENSE without reference to God. They took His actual existence as a given, not just intellectually, but psychologically as well. They had real, radical faith.

    This Pope does not convey that to me. Quite apart from what he actually believes, he communicates more like one of the larger masses of us modern Catholics who "hopes" that God exists, but is not quite sure deep down in his or her bones. We are more like Pascals who have chosen to live a Christian life as a intellectual martyrs: "I will live this way, whether God exists or not! It is the most beuatiful and meaningful way!"

    The difference between these approaches is stark to me. In modern Catholicism there is very little freedom to simply let the Word do its work. We talk about our words falling on deaf ears and new fresh approaches, as if it is OUR work. We preach "only with actions," because we have serious, intellectual and existential doubts about the power of the Christian message, as a claim about reality(rather than a social perspective). It is as if, in the end of the day, it isn't God who convicts and gives Hi Words life. It is as if the other person will always, only hear us, not his true Father in heaven calling him home speaking to him from behind our words.

    Thus, we are terribly worried about success and appearance, and forget Truth and faithfulness. Like Pascal's wager, we settle for things that would make sense, regardless of whether it is all true (fight for social justice, be judgmental concerning a person's wealth and status, but excuse every sexual sin and blasphemy).

    I am not sure that makes any sense, but it is how I feel.

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  8. JP - thanks for the facts.

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  9. Maybe we need to hear things in a way that we're not comfortable with. God doesn't always provide for us in the way we are happy with and we find nice and comfortable, but in a way that unsettles. Did Christ not do as such?

    And Maybe it is more that we should try placing Christ at the centre of all these things, not try to bring people to the church first then Christ, for Christ is the church and it is He that should be met first.

    As ever, Father,recently I've found myself in agreement with you on many points.

    God Bless.

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  10. The Francis effect has been bad for the Church and great for her enemies. Bad for souls.

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  11. Many people exploit people who are materially poor for their own ideological ends. We who are poor are not some amorphous group who care not for the Eternal Truth and our eternal souls.

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  12. That Pallium the Pope is wearing looks a right shmutter.

    My mother could have run up something better for him in half an hour on her old sewing machine.

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  13. Much of this subject has already been covered in Novarum and Quadragesimo Anno, and we should all look to these.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I haven’t studied them – that would take some time – but a skim through shows that the ground has been covered. In particular, it is interesting how much Pius XI refers back to and extends the understanding of his predecessor, Leo XIII.

    That is a very good example to follow!

    The principles are clear. The poor must be assisted to rise above poverty and be treated with justice. But there are no specific instructions on how to do this. That is after all up to society. In particular, we need good and Christian managers.

    A separate issue, however, is that of the hungry, the naked, the thirsty and so on. Now we have to look to them, or else!

    One other category, Father, which you obviously come across a lot, and deal heroically with, are those of deficient personality, frequently showing up in dependency illnesses. I think more needs to be done here by the medical authorities.

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  14. Fr. Ray, when I see and hear Catholics criticize this pope the words of Luke 5:31-32 keep coming back to me.

    Perhaps they don't understand him for one simple reason: He's not talking to them.

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  15. You write, "and find the child with his mother in Bethlehem".

    Pope Francis, in his homily on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, expressed it thus:
    "We must press on towards Bethlehem, where, in the simplicity of a dwelling on the outskirts, beside a mother and father full of love and of faith, there shines forth the Sun from on high, the King of the universe.

    I find this disconcerting, to say the least. The Church normally refers to St Joseph, when he is mentioned at all, as spouse of the glorious ever-Virgin Mary, Mother of God, or the foster father of Our Lord.

    As we recite in the Divine Praises, surely one of the most important prayers of our time: "Blessed be St. Joseph, her spouse most chaste"

    St Joseph has returned to a more prominent role in the public life of the Church since being named Her Patron and Protector, and then added to the sacred Canon since 1962, silently, watchfully, protectively accompanying Her yet again, in these times. Please let us beseech him to intercede for Francis Bergoglio as so frequently, it seems, we are left feeling assaulted and grieved by the words and expressions of the pope, subtle and otherwise.

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  16. George, just because something keeps coming back to you does not make it relevant. It could just mean you are confusing apples with oranges and just won't let it go. People have no problem understanding Pope Francis. They just have a problem with the fact that he is the Pope and he is saying these things.

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  17. KFCA: Was "the Sun from on high" a) a typo on your part or b) a mistake with whomever translated it into English, (i.e. the original language had "SON" and not "Sun") or the most disturbing possibility c) did he really mean "Sun", which if this latter I find most disturbing.

    Yes. Spelling counts. Because if he DID mean "sun" then I have a problem because it sounds like some sort of new age guru said it instead of the pope. What is he playing at if he actually said "sun?"

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  18. Gem,
    It is an illusion to the Benedictus:
    per viscera misericordiae Dei nostri, in quibus visitabit nos oriens ex alto,
    illuminare his, qui in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedent, ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis.

    Oriens is often translated as 'the sun', rather than 'dawn' in various vernaculars.

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  19. Jacobi - you are right - most of the issues relating to poverty were addressed in Rerum Novarum, Quadragesimo Anno and subsequent documents. The trouble is they were addressed badly. To make matters worse, like most things that have come from the Popes in the past century or so, they are not clear or to the point, but go all round it.

    Catholic Social Teaching has failed to address the fundamental question of property rights, from which poverty stems. There are those that own it and collect rent, and there are those that do not and work for wages and pay rent. The latter are like players in Monopoly, who join the game after all the squares are owned by one of the original players. There is almost nowhere they can go where they do not have to pay rent.

    But property is a weasel word. There is property which is the gift of God, and property which is the product of human labour, and no theory of social teaching can address the issue of poverty without acknowledging the distinction. Marxism suffers from the same error, and most people who use the term "Capitalism" are doing the same thing. Leo XIII had no excuse as the subject had been a matter of widespread public debate during the decade before the Encyclical came out.

    In principle, it is contrary to morality, justice and scripture for someone to enclose an area of the surface of the earth and claim it as theirs in perpetuity (Leviticus 25).

    Benedict's Caritas in Veritate, an unusually clear document which, exceptionally, goes right to the point, states that charity must begin with justice. This effectively takes Catholic Social Teaching back to square one. Whether Francis will build on that remains to be seen, but clarity expression does not so far seem to be a hallmark of his pontificate.

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  20. @ Physiocrat

    “clarity expression does not so far seem to be a hallmark of his pontificate”

    Sadly, we have a communication problem with the present Holy Father. I personally don’t recall anything remotely like the present “what the Pope actually means” industry, with previous incumbents, a situation clearly being exploited by enemies of the Church.

    In a recent video, Voris makes the point that English is the language of internal communication. The Holy Father apparently does not speak good English. His native language, Argentinian Spanish, is much influenced by Italian and this could explain its lack of preciseness, unlike say, German.

    Therefore, he is dependent on translators and worse still, a press office.

    If only he wrote in Latin. Translation from Latin to English is a well established and precise art.

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  21. Ma Tucker, it's really such a shame that God didn't give you the pope you wanted.

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  22. Physiocrat,

    I think we will be waiting a VERY long time if we expect the Vatican to produce some detailed economic program.

    In AD 410 Aleric sacked Rome, which began at some point soon after the start of the Middle Ages. The West began the transformation from being the City of Man to the City of God, as St. Augustine would say. The City of Man is based on dominating others for ones self interest. The City of God is based on service to God through service to others. The City of Man devalues and debases human labor and gives rise to slavery. The City of God gives penultimate value to human labor ("Ora et Labora") thereby providing the spiritual and philosophical foundation for a more just economy. The West made this transition to the City of God without the drafting of formal programs by the Church. It can make this transition again, hopefully in a similar way. We don't need economic programs from the Church. We need to hear the message of the Gospel over and over again, which is expressly what this pope is doing, so when Aleric sacks Rome again, we can rebuild our civilization.

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  23. God doesn't give us the Pope. And many Popes have not been good.

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  24. George - the church has no business in setting out an economic programme but it does have a duty to state what, in economics, is just, and what is unjust.

    It should most certainly not be creating a cloud of confusion over basic concepts like property rights, where it is necessary to distinguish between the gifts of God and the products of human labour.

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  25. I watched one of Bishop Fulton Sheen's TV talks again recently in which he propounds that economics is not the seat of morality. He pointed out that there were immoral, non-Christian civilisations and moral, Christian civilisations with the same economic systems.

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  26. No George, it's not up to me to swoon over God's will, whether active or permissive. God simply requires a Catholic response. That response can include expressing an objection to theologically unsound opinions.

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  27. Thanks for the clarification, Fr. Blake. But it just comes off as "creepy" when rendered into English that way, given the homonym "sun."

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  28. Well, Ma Tucker, let's make sure the whole Church is aware that we have you available to us all to judge the pope. What a gift that God hasn't abandoned us!

    Physiocrat, I think the definitions of private property have been more than well settled by the Church. Aristotle and Aquinas are good places to start.

    But your statement about fencing off land seems far off base.

    "In principle, it is contrary to morality, justice and scripture for someone to enclose an area of the surface of the earth and claim it as theirs in perpetuity (Leviticus 25)."

    Can you explain this more? What sense then do we make of the 7th and 8th Commandments? They seem pointless if no one has a right to own property.

    Capital has rights too. The workers cannot make the wine if no one owns the field, right?

    "There is property which is the gift of God, and property which is the product of human labour, and no theory of social teaching can address the issue of poverty without acknowledging the distinction. "

    First, I think you make a false distinction. Both property and labor are gifts from God. If generations of a family produced a great estate, why do we suddenly question the right of a son to own it and benefit from it? It brings to my mind the father from Brideshead describing the generations of Marchmains who built the great estate. He describes each generation: one dammed the river, the next drained the swamp, the next cleared the fields, etc. etc. The current head of the family has his rights vis a vi the work done, and the property accumulated, by his forefathers. Don't you agree?

    You are on target with what you describe as the two types of property, however. The second type is what I think economists call surplus value (Marx heavily developed this term, but that doesn't make it bad to use it.). When the workers take the grain and make it into bread, they add surplus value to the wheat. The question for a Christian nation is how to do we divide up this surplus value fairly between the owners of the means of production and the producers themselves.

    Lynda references Bp Sheen and his comment about economic systems. Sheen is speaking to a truth here. No one should question the basic economic system whereby someone own the field, and another owns the mill, and yet another owns a bakery and then workers who own only their labor turn the wheat into bread. Such a system obviously can exist in a Christian or a non-Christian nation. The difference in a Christian vs a non-Christian nation is how the surplus value is distributed. People of a Christian nation should be guided by Justice and Prudence when making economic decisions. This is the difference between a Materialist worldview (like capitalism) and a Christian worldview. Adam Smith claimed that the best prosperity for the most came about through pursual of self-interest, irrespective of Justice and Prudence. Smith and modern day capitalists deny the necessity of christian values governing economic transactions.

    How many local businessmen visit Fr Ray for guidance on economic decisions, to ensure that certain important decisions are being guided by due prudence and justice?

    This is what must happen.

    This is the direction that the Pope is trying to take God's people.







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  29. I'm interested solely in 'The Unadorned Truth of Jesus Christ Our Lord and Saviour Effect' and follow this papacy to the extent it serves to unambiguously advance this Reality.

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  30. George, if you classify property into that which is a gift of God and that which is the product of human labour, then, in relation to his country estate, the land in its natural condition ie the swamp, is the gift of God, and all the improvements are the product of human labour. The two need to be separated, conceptually. Now the improvements which you are talking about have to be continually renewed, roughly speaking every 25 years, or the great estate will revert to its natural condition of swamp. The idea that it has been built up from generation to generation is less than the whole story.

    And it gets worse. Lord Marchmain and his ilk own most of central London, and anyone running a business there must pay what is in effect a private tax. It is also the case that some of these London estates came into the ownership of the aristocratic families by fraud, well documented in the case of the Duke of Westminster, who owns the most valuable parcels of land.

    The Duke's lands, previously held by Westminster Abbey, had been low-lying rough grazing. But as London spread, they became valuable. Then the municipal authorities put in roads, sewerage and drainage works (requiring continual pumping), and then tramways, underground railways and other amentities, all of which have to be kept in good working order. This infrastructure, provided by the commmunity at large, is what makes the Duke's estate valuable, as without it, it would quickly revert from being the most valuable neighbourhood in London to badly-drained swamp where nobody would want to live.

    In this case, the gift of God is a few square miles of the surface of the planet, in a sought-after location, whose value is sustained by the presence and activities of the community. Lord Marchmain, in this situation, is the ultimate free-rider. It is time that Catholic Social Teaching acknowledged this systematic theft.

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  31. In response to one comment, something that has recently been very interesting for me, was that Joseph was technically and legally Jesus' father. It makes it clear that Joseph NAME the child Jesus. This legally makes Joseph his father. Better than 'foster father' perhaps Jesus' 'earthly father' is better, because if we refuse to acknowledge Joseph as Father of Jesus then the line form David is broken. Sorry to drag up such a point, it is just something recently that has fascinated me. God Bless.

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  32. George,

    Dante had contemporary popes in hell in his Inferno. Michelangelo has recent popes in hell in his Last Judgment. The Acts of the Apostles and Galatians record Paul chastising the Pope for going along with the Judaizers.

    Who do you think the Pope is? He does not magically become the embodiment of Catholicism when he takes his office. His every word does not become, somehow profound. His opinions on things like, say, economics, are still just opinions.

    Ultimately, he is Christ's Vicar. That means he is a man with a specific duty. Once he can embrace or reject. There were forms upon forms which helped keep the Pope on safe ground for centuries. Those forms were rejected by this generation of bishops. They think of themselves as bold revolutionaries, open to the Spirit. The results are obvious to anyone looking. The Church has crumbled around them.

    We respect his office, but we don't pretend that he is the living walking embodiment of the faith. To me, that is perverse, considering some of the things past Popes have done. It is also irrational, seeing as Popes contradict each other.

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  33. The mention of Dorothy Day. I attended a talk given by her in October, 1971 in cincinnati, OH. She spoke on the need to have the covering of Holy Angels over children in the ghetto. As her talk went on a rather full hall became quite empty toward the end of her talk. The vast majority who left were nuns, with looks of derision for her comments. Why am i not surprised at the state of the churches now in the 21 century? It did not happer over night.

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  34. Jane, read Pope Benedict's 'Infancy Narratives' and you won't be confused anymore. Also the who visited Joseph told him to call Our Lord, Jesus.

    God Bless.

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  35. Physiocrat,

    I'm not sure how we return to this natural state of property justice, which you desire. Regardless, I think the discussion is good, and we can credit the "Francis Effect."

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  36. @Jane Ireland,
    Think on Luke 2:41 - 52 as to who Jesus regarded as His Father:...
    and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.’ He said to them, ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’
    His 'Father's House', as I'm sure you will agree is the Temple, i.e. Jesus always ever knew his 'Father' to be God the Father. Peace

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  37. @Liam Ronana Yet Mary still refers to Joseph and Jesus' father. I'm not renounce the fact that Jesus is first and foremost and without a doubt God's son, but if we ignore Joseph's role in the whole thing and to ignore the line of David. Look at matthew 2:18-25 "You must name him Jesus." .... "When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do....and he name him Jesus." what I'm saying is on earth Jesus was regarded as Joseph's son, without ignoring the fact that he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was ultimately the son of God. As in this time, if the man named the child legally this made him the child's father. So Joseph would still have been seen as the father of Jesus.
    God Bless

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  38. Perhaps what I'm more trying to say, is our some prone to picking holes in Francis' words because of our own understands and/or because we are set on not liking him? Francis is a learned man. To anyone that visited the stable on the nativity they would indeed find "a mother and father full of love and of faith" for what greater faith is there than to believe that their son actually does not belong to them, for as far as we believe Mary's egg was not used it was purely conceived of the Holy Spirit, but belongs to God. God bless.

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  39. @Jane Ireland,
    Sure Jane. You understand. I understand. However, Pope Francis' listening audience is comprised of a vast ignorant majority of unbelievers and believers too (unfortunately). I think the Pope must always recognize that every pronouncement of his is a 'teaching moment' and this is yet another occasion where the ball was dropped...in my opinion. God bless.

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  40. If wikileaks is to be believed John Allen is a double agent who works for the CIA.

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  41. George, the clue is in the name, "Physiocrat". They were the first to put economics on a systematic footing, and were a group in the court of Louis XV. They got their ideas from Jesuits returning from China, who had seen the system working successfully there. If you are interested you can look them up. What they proposed is really a version of the feudal system. Holders of land have responsibilities, as in fact Catholic Social Teaching points out, if not very explicitly.

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  42. "Marx . . . Lenin . . . Mao Tse Tung . . . These men were animated by the love of brother and this we must believe though their ends meant the seizure of power, and the building of mighty armies, the compulsion of concentration camps, the forced labor and torture and killing of tens of thousands, even millions." . . . Dorothy Day

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  43. I agree prison will not help the homeless man who stole the sandwiches, who should not even have been given a community order, except that he probably doesn't have the money to pay a fine, has probably breached a conditional discharge already and the criminal justice system can't do nothing. I know, I'm a JP and have come across others like him.

    I have visited prisons and there are some good Catholic chaplains who are there for offenders who need or want them. Perhaps 'S' can be helped by one such.

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  44. Annie...assuming the quote is accurate, merely underscores to me what a naive person DD was as regards the totalitarian menace. These people knew EXACTLY what they were doing. Using the "poor and oppressed" as a fig leaf to grab power for themselves and their apparatchiks.

    This left wing notion that "oh, socialism would be great if only the right people were in charge" is DANGEROUS. It's inherently foolhardy, and is a guaranteed failure.

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