Thursday, July 13, 2017

Nasty Courtiers



Did you believe the story about the Pope submitting his five dubia to Cardinal Mueller? No nor did I, I just don't believe the stories that begin Monsignor A told Bishop B that Cardinal C had said the Pope has said or done Y. I do my best not to listen to gossip, and not to report it. If we can't try to speak the truth we are unlikely to be faithful witnesses to Christ, we have an obligation to speak the truth even if it costs us dearly in order to be credible.

I certainly don't trust Monsignori or anyone who is not willing to back up a damaging statement about the Pope without being willing to put his name to it, especially as in this case it was also about someone like Cardinal Mueller who is quite able to state frankly his own case and has a certain reputation of being honourable. Passing on this kind of 'fake news' is trading in filth, I find it as scandalous as stories about sexual deviants having parties in the Vatican.

Poor Pope Francis has to battle as much against with his friends as against his enemies, many of the more vociferous on both side are pretty unpleasant, they contaminate with their filthy lies those who listen to them and pass on in all innocence what they have heard. Simply, the Gospel allow it and threatens judgement against those who do it!

There is a very good podcast by Damien Thompson and Fr Ed Conlon at the end of this piece in the Spectator. Fr Ed hits the nail by saying that invariably liberal commentators misinterpret the Pope, it is not just journalists but as is discussed even revamped the Academy for Life came out with a statement regarding not keeping little Charlie Gard alive by extending his treatment, whilst the Pope, the very next day invited the family to Rome for further treatment.

One of the great problems with every court is that courtiers tend to fail to understand the thinking of the Prince, which means of course one moment you can be by his side giving advice and the next in a cage on the roof Castel Sant'Angelo exposed to the elements. The other thing about courtiers is they are often very nasty people, they put their trust in princes and not in the Lord. To see this today one only has to look at Twitter to see the abusive or gloating comments of those who claim to be close to the Pope today. If they judge a man to be an enemy of Francis there is no end to the vilification and bile.

The more unpredictable or incoherent a prince becomes the more violent and malevolent become those who surround him, of course they wish to control him, in the case of the current Pope this probably impossible, in the words of Cardinal Pell, 'he is unique'.

27 comments:

Cosmos said...

The real problem is that everyone in authority has lost their credibility. People don't believe the stories, but then they don't believe the retractions either. That's where we are.

Fr. Blake, you wrote, "Passing on this kind of 'fake news' is trading in filth, I find it as scandalous as stories about sexual deviants having parties in the Vatican."

But don't we know the "stories about sexual deviants having parties in the Vatican" are true? In any event, what people are struggling with is not the deviancy, but the fact that the deviants are trying to theologically normalize their behavior. When someone is trying to overturn centuries of teaching on a subject (sorry, I mean "develop doctrine"), it is very important to know if they are personally (and perhaps selfishly) invested in the change.

TLM said...

I understand the hesitancy of giving credibility to unnamed sources, but I'm wondering what would happen to a cleric in the Vatican that would put his name to anything that sheds a negative light on the Pope?...especially this Pope? Surely it would not be a pretty picture. As Fr. Z has pointed out himself: 'there are a million ways that a Bishop can figuratively behead a Priest under his jurisdiction.'

random Earth dweller said...

I believe it.

Liam Ronan said...

I do not believe Pope Francis bends the knee for Anyone, Father. He has the spirit of surprises to protect and direct him.

Good to see you're in the pink again.

James said...

Things are just so horrible in the Church under Pope Francis. It's getting worse and worse! Please God - free us from him.

JMY said...

Poor Pope Francis. Honoring abortionists, firing and reassigning conservatives, hiring panthheisrs and atheists to write documents, giving the Eucharist to those outside the faith, hanging out and praising socialists and communists, and allowing gay orgies.

Poor, poor Papa Francis.

Woody said...

Do you enjoy espionage, Father? It's modern form is quite intriguing. Especially with the all the information one can acquire through the internet. Is the matter true? It must be, I read it on the internet! Is it false? It must be, it was on the internet. True or False. All in the eyes of the beholder or what you want the eyes of the beholder to believe?

pjotr said...

OnePeterFive is generally a very trustworthy and honorable website. Maybe they made a mistake to publish this story about the 'five dubia' the pope allegedly asked Cardinal Muller. But this is not 'gossip'. Considering the history of pope Francis the story very well could have been true. It does not add anything to the disastrous way pope Francis is dealing with people (Cardinal Burke, Cardinal Sarah, The Franciscans of the Immaculate, the Knights of Malta, the three priests of the CDF, etc.). So maybe this time OnePeterFive was wrong, but I wholeheartedly forgive them their understandable mistake. Everyboy makes a mistake now and then and 1Peter5 always tries to be honest.

Nicolas Bellord said...

The story about Cardinal Mueller and the questions put to him by Pope Francis has all the appearance of being true. The only denial is from the Vatican Press Office - Greg Burke - who says the account of the interview has been wrongly reconstructed. That is hardly a denial of the original story but just suggests that it is wrong in some detail (the order of the questions?). If it is really fake news why not deny it entirely? Cardinal Mueller himself could put us right, if it was not true, but he has not done so.

Yes it would be nice if everyone could speak out frankly and openly giving their names but in this world that is not possible. If we were to ignore every anonymous source we could very well be covering up all sorts of scandalous behaviour.

Michael Dowd said...

Yes the Pope is unique, uniquely unqualified to be Pope. He is ambiguous, unable to judge in his own words, worldly, overly political, secular, surrounds himself with a gay immoral mafia, and is basically a walking, talking scandal to the faithful.

Sean Mercer said...

Sorry, Father, I'm afraid you are being a bit naive. Don't you think the apparatchiks in the Roman dicasteries have learned their lesson from the sudden dismissal of the three clerics in the CDF under the last Prefect?

Valdemar said...

Father Blake: The problems are mutitudinous, and some have been cited. Could this story be untrue and a tragic mistake? Sure, but the story sheds no ill light on Müller and expresses nothing particularly new about the methods of the Pope. So we are left with a dilemma. What to believe?

I submit that it is irrational to simply take the word of a Catholic prelate anymore. What credibility do they have?

Take Müller for example. On one hand he is quite orthodox overall. However, his defense of Amoris Laetitia as clearly expressing Church teaching is so absurd, so ludicrous, so utterly bizarre and embarassing that common sense indicates that anything he says should be taken with a grain {pound, no a whole sackful} of salt. I have no trust in him at all. And neither do many others.

In addition, one must ask oneself "Does the story sound like something the Pope might do?"

In addition, the story about the Pope interrupting Mass has not, to my knowledge, been disputed. And again...does it sound like something ths Pope would do?

So, with all of that in front of me and faced with the question of whether this story is true, about all I can say is "Who am I to judge?"

coches ags said...

Problem is at present a story like that is not unlikely at all. An such"gossip" is these days more likely to be true, and ends up being confirmed, than not.

geneticallycatholic said...

Dear Father,

I can understand your apprehension about believing 'tales' from unnamed sources, especially as the 'tales' are critical of the Holy Father. However, I must say, by now, I don't even read those 'tales', because I have made my mind about Pope Francis: I do not trust him to safeguard the Faith; by his actions, I do not see Pope Francis personally as a man of honour - his actions are consistent with being a petty dictator, who is using all the power at his disposal to do what he wants, not what He (as in Our Lord) wants. I was so grieved when he came back from the Middle East with only Muslim refugees, not one Christian family among them. Talk about betrayal of Christians!

I read One Peter Five, and sometimes, I do think the blog is rather like a tabloid when it writes of events going on in the Vatican. Then I look at how the Vatican treats orthodox Catholics (Cardinal Burke comes to mind, the FFI, etc), and how the Vatican embraces abortionists, and so-called climate change' and those who want to limit the world population - this last contrary to Jesus' very words to 'be fruitful. What IP5 has reported on is what the Vatican is doing; and what the Vatican is doing reads like a tabloid. ... so what can I say? IP5 reports it, and I think I1P5 as being the tabloid?

By the way, 1P5 has published an essay by Cardinal Ejik from the eleven cardinals book entitled 'Can civilly divorced and remarried Catholics receive Communion?'. I read with interest the comments; Cardinal Ejik recommends 'spiritual communion', but some of the commenters are against having people in a state of mortal sin make a 'spiritual communion'. Could you comment on that? Even though I am a Cradle Catholic, I don't know much about 'spiritual communion'; What exactly is it, and under what circumstances does one do it?

God bless, and once again, it's great to have you blogging again. ...

John the Mad said...

When I read the story on1Peter5 I was doubtful about the its veracity, since it involved the pope demanding answers to five questions in a rather obvious take off on the five dubia. If the assertions are false, as Cardinal Muller says they are (good enough for me) the willingness of Catholics to believe them is a self-inflicted wound by this pope.

His heterodox writings, bizarre press conference on papal flights, brutal suppression of the Friars of the Immaculate, gutting of the Dicastery for Faith, Family and Life, promotion of a cardinal who desecrated his cathedral by commissioning a homoerotic mural on his cathedral wall, his coup d'etat on the leadership of the formerly sovereign, now Condom Knights of Malta, his now infamous cafeteria temper tantrum, his lengthy and growing list of insults, his blatant efforts to undermine orthodoxy in the Synod on the Family etc etc all lead one to believe that the 1Peter5 story is consistent with the pope's behaviour and could therefore be true.

John Vasc said...

I genuinely have no idea at all whether the story of the five questions allegedly posed before the sudden firing of Cardinal Mueller is true or not. Though - a matter tacitly omitted here - the manner of his dismissal at the very last moment of his term (a contravention of employment law in almost any civil society these days) is to my mind much more significant, and its truth far less debatable.
But just by the way (or is it?) there is a curious parallel with the archetypal meme of the riddles of danger that are found in many folk- or fairy-tales. A hero (or victim) is asked by a powerful magic figure (a giant, or a devil) some questions - usually three questions rather than five. The questions can be tests of knowledge, or of character, or of fitness for a quest. At least one question is deliberately easy, some demand feats of reasoning; some are questions to which the answer is only known - or can even be wilfully decided - by the questioner. Often 'yes' or 'no' replies are demanded. Usually the answers, right or wrong, decide whether the hero is allowed to pass through a further gateway on his quest. Life or (sudden) death may depend on getting the right answers.
Some examples: The Icelandic legends; in Wagner's Ring, Wotan's riddles to the dwarf Mime (Siegfried, Act I) which end with Wotan telling Mime his head is now forfeit. Wotan's riddles to the hero Siegfried himself, in which Siegfried cuts through the questioning by telling Wotan to push off. The Casket Scene in The Merchant of Venice. Alice in Wonderland also has some examples, in tribute to the tradition: ('Off with her head!') In Mozart's opera 'The Magic Flute', Tamino is questioned by the priests before being allowed to proceed on his mission. And so on.
The 'dangerous' quality of the questions is a vital part of the meme, and the fact that they must be couched in neutral tone and language, to make them sound 'fair'. The summary execution that happens to the 'failed' characters in fairy tales is intended as narrative entertainment.
The Gestapo (for example) adapted this riddling as one technique of interrogation, often sadistically enjoying the whim by which a suspect might live but be psychologically broken, or else be summarily shot.

So we have the mythological sudden sacking, or metaphorical decapitation of a Head [Card. Mueller, Head of of the CDF] the unwitting victim deliberately and knowingly 'executed' at the very last moment before reaching the safety of tenure-renewal - and this last-minute sacking definitely *did* happen, with the Pope cutting off the interview instantly and leaving his Secretary to inform the Cardinal that the audience was finished, and so was he.

So the only question is: were the 'five questions' that allegedly preceded Cardinal Mueller's sacking a clever fiction invented by a well-read, fertile and mischievous imagination (a journalist, perhaps or a papal enemy within the Vatican)...?

Or did they really take place? In which case the papal psychology would need still further reassessment, and we would find ourselves in far deeper doo-doo than we even imagined.

Michael Dowd said...

John V. Let us remember and be thankful that Cardinal Muller now can sue the Pope for unlawful termination based on age discrimination. Not going to happen, of course. But there is some rotten in Denmark or rather the Vatican. And Cardinal Muller owns it to all of us not to take this ill treatement laying down.

Simple Simon said...

For me, the real scandal is the silence of most of the Bishops and Cardinals who do not agree with Francis' 'reforms'. The Polish Bishops official response to AL was to reaffirm Catholic orthodoxy. The message they sent Francis was crystal clear. An emphatic 'No Surrender'. No words of praise to Poland from Pope Francis for Catholic Orthodoxy. Just silence. Deadly silence. Will Poland be left to stand alone?

geneticallycatholic said...

@ Simple Simon, Poland is left to already stand alone (along with Hungary and the CzecH Republic) regarding the acceptance of Muslim immigration as per the EU - [an organization that appears to be very close to Pope Francis' heart]. The EU appears to take the place of the Catholic Church for Pope Francis. As such,it's no surprise that on the Orthodox Catholic front, there is no support from Pope Francis for Poland. At this time, even President Donald Trump is more Catholic than Francis. At least he supports Poland!

Oakes Spalding said...

With respect, Father, this is (as far as I've seen) the most ill-advised thing you have ever written. Christ and His Church are not being attacked by OnePeterFive. They are being attacked by Bergoglio. Filthy lies? Please. Every faithful Catholic knows where those are really coming from.

Michael Dowd said...

Right on 'genticallycatholic'. I'm guessing Trump will become a Catholic sometime next year and be a better spokesman for the faith that our current pope.

Nicolas Bellord said...

CNA says that Cardinal Muller has denied the story:

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/cardinal-muller-refutes-claims-about-conversation-with-pope-98906/

Inter alia it says:

'The cardinal was "flabbergasted to read this description of his meeting with the Pope", Horst writes, quoting Cardinal Müller as stating: "This is incorrect".

In fact, the whole meeting had run very differently Cardinal Müller asserted, and the claims made by the "anonymous German source" were quite false.

The comments echo a brief email sent by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, to both One Peter Five and Marco Tosatti yesterday. In it, Burke states that the claimed "reconstruction is totally false" and requests that the story be updated.'

It is a bit difficult to see how the story can be updated if he does not tell us what actually happened.

Fr Ray Blake said...

OS,
We cannot fight the battles of Heaven with the weapons forged in Hell. Untruths and gossip can never be from God, it is one of the reason's I worry about the Prince and his courtiers.

Liam Ronan said...

I should like to point out that St. Paul relied on unnamed credible sources of his own to form opinions:

"...For first of all I hear that when you come together in the church, there are schisms among you; and in part I believe it..." ! Corinthians 11:18

Valdemar said...

There is, as the story goes, Father, more to this story that has not been told.

I suggest you wait for the whole thing to come out.

Just a gentle suggestion I think will be beneficial...

Liam Ronan said...

What is the difference between 'quietism' and 'resignation to the Will of God'? These are both modes of letting matters run their course but which are on occasion radically and even morally opposed to one another.

I honestly cannot suss the distinction.

Nicolas Bellord said...

Liam: I suggest reading Ronald Knox's "Enthusiasm" and the chapter on "Quietism". It is not easy to define and Knox suggests it is more of a direction than a doctrine. Thus accepting the will of God rather than one's own is to be recommended. It seems to me that accepting the will of Satan and not opposing it is more in question here and that is where extreme Quietism becomes wrong.