Habemus Papam

Pope Francis Holds His Weekly General Audienceby Geoph2
We have a pope. Four words that shape a world.

The last time they were proclaimed, they announced Pope Francis. And as with any change, it marked not an end, but a beginning. But not a new beginning for the Church. Jesus has been, and always will be, the leader of the Church. Any pope is no more than the Vicar of Christ on earth. Rather, this marked a new beginning for every person on earth.

We have all been given an opportunity — a new opportunity to hear the Word of God from a new perspective. The entire world watched as the Bishops gathered, and the entire world heard when Pope Francis was announced. Much of what this man is doing is being reported — even in the most secular and hostile of outlets. What this man is doing is truly miraculous.

If you heard that Catholics have a new Pope, I urge you to understand that God did not create only Catholics. The Lord created all of the universe, all of the Earth, and all of the creatures that fill it, including every man, woman, and child. The Lord sends His sun and rain upon all His creation. He sent His Son for all of mankind, and now He has sent a Pope for every ear to hear!

God is loving and forgiving, and if you have ears to hear, open your heart to His Word. Do not reject an opportunity to heal old wounds, to grow in love, and to explore the Faith. Pope Francis is the blessed tool God is using to remind you that He cares for you, and that He misses you.

The miracle is happening.
The Earth has a pope, and you have a relationship with God.
All that is left unknown, is what each one of us does with a new opportunity. • (2251 views)

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About jeph

Home is the Detroit suburbs, though I spent some years in Rochester, NY. Thus, I'm quite familiar with what a fiscal, societal, and governmental failure looks like.
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26 Responses to Habemus Papam

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This will remain an anonymous post until I hear from the author what name he wishes to use.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    The miracle is happening.

    I like most of what you said, J. But I remain a bit of a Missourian at heart in that it’s not enough for me to just have “Hope and Change” good vibes. There’s a “Show me” element to this that is a must.

    Show me, Pope Francis, that you mean to diverge from religion-as-Kumbaya and lean more toward religion-as-the-vehicle-for-instilling-good-values. Show me that you believe in individual morality and not the kind of “collective morality” wherein capitalilsm is blamed for the evils of society. Show me that religion is more about (or at least partially about) self-denial as opposed to the vibe of self-gratification which infects most religious denominations at the moment (where often a church service is just a lounge act with better music).

    Hey, I’m glad you chose the name of Francis of Assisi as your namesake. But show if you mean to teach the Gospel or instead fall back on politically correct nostrums that ultimately derive from the political Left.

    • ladykrystyna says:

      Brad, as a practicing Catholic, I agree with everything you said.

      The Catholic Church has, I believe, for far too long, hung its hat on socialism. Yes, Pope John Paul II was anti-Communist, because Communists are atheists and are anti-religion.

      And I understand not wanting to encourage materialism and greed.

      And I understand teaching people about charity.

      But I think it’s clear that all that can be done while still not bashing capitalism and encouraging socialism or fascism.

      Our Founders and our young country managed to do all those things. And de Toqueville noticed that and wrote about it.

      And certainly charity and heeding human rights can also be taught without standing up for amnesty for illegals. My thought would be that a priest could teach individual charity, but also saying to the illegals that they must give to Caesar what is Caesar’s – obey the man made law to not come here illegally. There is nothing bad about that. Nothing unjust. What is unjust is coming here illegally and then demanding more than just human compassion – demanding rights, demanding that we make you citizens, etc.

      I’m just not sure how we do this with the Church. It is obviously not a democracy.

      The only thing I can think of is for those of us who disagree to leave and form another branch of Christianity (like there is still Eastern Orthodox and Protestants, etc.).

      They want to encourage people to stay and join, just like Hollywood wants everyone to come to the movies, but then they insult half their parishioners like Hollywood insults half their audience.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Our Founders and our young country managed to do all those things. And de Toqueville noticed that and wrote about it.

        Yes indeed! And thanks for reminding me that one of these days I’m going to have to slog thorough his “Democracy in America.”

        I don’t know where Pope Francis comes down on this, but if the message is to de-materialize, if you will, then one must be consistent and not put the emphasis on curing poverty. That is still putting the emphasis on the material.

        Charity? Yes. By all means. But what has this “war on poverty” gotten anyone? And what I see is that the Church has picked up the same vibe. The Church’s role now seems to be to eradicate poverty and redistribute wealth. This is a thoroughly materialist-central outlook.

        Contrast that with St. Francis who voluntarily took on material poverty and urged others to do so. He did not see the world through the lens of either redistributing wealth or eradicating poverty. Mankind had a higher calling.

        To my mind, the Church (like so many others) has lost its way. If Francis can claw the focus back to Christianity, then all the better. I wish him the best and I wish him luck. But I’m very skeptical that many of these people have even a clue what their mission is.

        • Kung Fu Zu says:

          Unfortunately, the Church is a huge bureaucracy. And the primary directive of every bureaucracy is “protect and grow the bureaucracy.” It goes without saying that most members of any bureaucracy are convinced of the necessity of their institution.

          Every now and then, I will get into a political discussion about government where the word “moral” will arise. Before the discussion goes on I advise the person I am speaking with not to look to government or big business for morals.

          Perhaps it is simply the human condition, but I believe the larger a bureaucracy grows, the less interested the members become in right and wrong as these apply to their group.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Right.

            And a bureaucracy is a sort of “collective morality.” It is very easy in a bureaucracy of collective effort for right and wrong to no longer be seen in absolute terms. It’s related to the idea of “the tragedy of the commons.” If no single person is responsible for something, things well tend to get used and abused.

            That’s precisely why the Tea Party leaves a site spotless while those on the Left leave their sites a pigsty.

            So it is with a bureaucracy. So it is with socialism. When resonsibililty or the idea of right and wrong is “shared,” there then is no ability to even know right and wrong. It’s all then just a matter of opinion or, more likely, a matter of politics.

            And then, as you said, Mr. Kung, add in the self-deluding aspect of “It goes without saying that most members of any bureaucracy are convinced of the necessity of their institution.”

            As I, and others, go forth with this web site, I will keep that in mind. I will not screw over people “for the good of the cause.” Each situation must be judged in terms of right and wrong or else one is greasing that slippery slope to “collective morality.” For me, that’s the same thing regarding the Republican Party. F-bomb them. I don’t care if the Republican Party survives or not because there is no point to it surviving if it doesn’t stand for something good and right.

          • ladykrystyna says:

            I agree with that assessment.

            That has been my assessment with any trouble the Catholic Church has ever been in or caused.

            It went from being an offshoot sect of Judaism, and then persecuted by the Romans, and then basically marrying itself with government when Constantine converted.

            I remember Glenn Beck having an episode about how bad it is when government, business and religion get together either just any 2 together or all 3. It always winds up being a problem.

            And that was, IMHO, the problem with the Church. They got too big, too powerful, married themselves with the European (and other) governments and, as you said, became bureaucratic.

            Just like secular governments.

            Our Founders were correct – the bigger, the worse, no matter what you are talking about.

            I feel the same way about corporations. I’m free market, but I feel that the bigger the corporations get, the more interested they are in keeping themselves going at any cost, and they become rent seekers and cold and indifferent.

            But of course corporations usually get big because they are successful, so the only way to deal with big corporations is “limited government” – a government that will not give in to requests/demands for “help” from the big corporations (or any business or special interest group).

        • ladykrystyna says:

          I’m not all that confident in this new Pope in that regard. I still get the feeling he’s doing as you say – concentrating on “poverty” and “redistribution of wealth”.

          And certainly the American bishops, for the most part, are of no help. Backing amnesty, first backing Obamacare and then walking it back a bit when they realized that they were getting screwed.

          We need coherence. I’m not saying that the Church has to specifically champion capitalism. But if it focused its teachings on INDIVDIUAL action regarding charity, it would go farther.

          And if it would remember that Jesus distinguished between God’s law and manmade law, that would help as well.

          If I were a priest and I was approached by a family of illegals, I would of course give them temporary shelter and food. And then I would advise them to follow the law. To go back from whence they came and to come here legally. That to come here illegally and use our services without having even paid into the system (even if I personally disagree with that system) is akin to stealing.

          But that’s just me.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Ditto.

          • Kung Fu Zu says:

            I just finished reading the New Testament from Matthew 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. If anything is clear it is that repentance and salvation are acts of the individual. I have never understood religious people who think they are don’t something good by forcibly taking money from one group and giving it to another. There is no personal merit in that.

            Frankly, I believe if someone claims to have concerns about the disadvantaged they are shirking their own moral responsibility if they don’t get involved on a personal level. I used the word disadvantaged intentionally and not the word poor, because there are many conditions which are more trying than poverty.

            • ladykrystyna says:

              Well said. I haven’t studied the Bible as much as I should have, but I also don’t remember being taught “collective salvation”, which is basically what liberation theology is, which, in turn, is just the communist version of religion.

              Pope John Paul II made an effort to root that out in Central and South America (where it originated) because he knew what it was.

              But the blacks still fall for it: “black liberation theology”.

  3. Jeph says:

    Thanks everyone for the input, and I’m sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this.

    I agree that the Church on earth has had its share of problems, and that human leadership has failings – but…..

    I never have made the direct connection between the Church and Socialism. Primarily, because I seldom view the Church through an economic filter. I “get” that ‘sell all you have, give it to the poor, then follow me’ screams Socialism, but that isn’t exactly what Jesus said (Matthew 19:21), He stated “If you want to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the destitute, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come back and follow me.”

    The Lord, being God, is perfection; and the Lord, being man, understands our imperfections. If we go back a few verses, the context becomes clear. A man asks “what good must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus replies that there is only One good (God Himself) and that the man needs to obey the commandments (as the new covenant has not been yet established). Only when the man expresses his desire to be better than that, does Jesus tell him to sell his possessions – and that was this particular man’s stumbling block.
    Under the New Covenant, we no longer gain Salvation through obedience to Jewish Law, but we can (as saved) still desire to grow closer to God by doing good works.
    Each of us IS the man in Matthew, and each of us asks (in some way, consciously or not) what else can I do? Perhaps it is to get past a human interpretation of Scripture, or to view events less through a filter of nations and politics, and more through one of Religion? Those were mine a couple of years ago. Its still hard to do, but I try – and that doesn’t mean I’ve given up trying to change what is going wrong in our Nation.

    I guess what I’m trying to say to everyone is that it is the Church that is infallible (“One who is Good”), not the people belonging to Her – whether they be me, you, bishops, or pope. What is it that we refuse to let go of or sell? What makes it easier for a “camel to go through the eye of a needle” than for us to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven?

    This is what I am trying to express with a new pope and the reporting being done on this one currently. That so many are seeing or reading or hearing about Pope Francis, and noticing the Church once again. This is the miracle. Its as if we looked left and saw Christ and His discoples gathering. THIS is our opportunity to ask Jesus “what must I do?” Perhaps He will tell us to honor our parents, or be kind to the poor (disadvantaged) and widows. Perhaps He will tell us to let go of something, but remember, whatever that “something” is, it is a blockage to a better relationship with God. There will always be another “something”, that’s just the nature of a growing love and desire for God. I just pray that no one, especially you – my friends, will walk away sad as did the rich man, because he just could not overcome his love of what he possessed – and we know that we can only love one master, and that we will hate the other.
    Jeph

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I “get” that ‘sell all you have, give it to the poor, then follow me’ screams Socialism, but that isn’t exactly what Jesus said (Matthew 19:21)

      That doesn’t in the least scream “socialism” to me, Jeph. That screams “Christ.” Let’s remember Francis of Assisi’s first rules (and the only one that he thought were ever needed):

      “If you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me” (Matthew 19,21);

      “Take nothing for your journey” (Luke 9,3);

      “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me” (Luke 9,23).

      The thing that would make any of this socialist is if the government was telling us that we must give up what we have and give it to the poor. That was never Francis’ way, and that certainly isn’t what is written. And it should be remember that Francis specifically forbade demonizing the rich.

      I think the Church (and any pope) starts out with a very large sense of cognitive dissonance. The Church itself is rich and adorns itself in riches. This then make it difficult for some pope or other functionary to say “Hey, material stuff doesn’t matter….just make sure that you’re good with God.”

      And many will think, “Well, that’s easy for him to say.”

      There is a great story about St. Francis preaching to the pope and his gathered functionaries. There had been great buzz about Francis, and now the pope wanted to see for himself what all the excitement was about. Francis’ friend (a cardinal himself, and a future pope, if I remember correctly) advised him to write down a formal sermon. After all, this was the pope and his top functionaries that he was going to preach to. This was no time for off-the-cuff.

      The story is that Francis stood in the Vatican chambers before this assembled nobility in their great robes and other signs of office, reached into his pocket, and discovered that he had left his prepared text behind. He panicked for a moment, stepped back, and then looked up above and said a short prayer. He then commenced with an impromptu sermon that brought tears to the generally crusty bureaucrats and functionaries.

      Without intending to be obnoxious or scolding, he gave a sermon that shamed them to their very depths. These functionaries had just witnessed what they supposedly were all about, but were not, in practice.

      Yes, Jeph, there are many blockages that keep us from doing what we should do. I’m just not sure that a name change or a new figurehead is the catalyst for that. But we’ll see.

      • Kung Fu Zu says:

        As I tried to make clear in a previous comment, there is nothing good or noble about a system which forcibly removes the wealth of one individual to give it to others. That is the essence of socialism. It is not a matter of choice, it is a matter of force.

        On the other hand, there is no doubt that the early Christians, and I am talking about those Churches Paul wrote to in his Epistles, were pretty much communistic, i.e. they shared their belongings between each other. They were also exhorted to work and not be idle i.e. don’t soak each other.

        But they could leave the Church anytime they wished. This was their choice and was not imposed on them by imperial Rome. Later, St. Francis used Christ as his guide and never tried to impose his way on anyone. As taught by Christ, salvation must be accepted by choice.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          and I am talking about those Churches Paul wrote to in his Epistles, were pretty much communistic, i.e. they shared their belongings between each other.

          And that’s fine — when voluntary, as you said, Mr. Kung. And we should note that a family itself is generally a communistic enterprise.

          One of the big problems was when “Progressivism” infected our morals. It first came, at least in regards to the religious impulse, under the guise of “social gospel” (now called “social justice”). It was the idea that the state should be the stand-in for god.

          I can certainly understand why this would be a very natural belief for Catholics who already kinda-sorta have a Church bureaucracy that is a stand-in for god. But this impulse did not (and does not) restrict itself to Catholics.

          So, if God is true, and if we know what he wants, how can one not be for the state being used as the instrument of His will?

          This has been the question that many Westerners have flunked. And secular types have flunked it even worse. The short answer would be that the model for our Federal government is a non-sectarian one, and yet (the dirty little secret) is that is is a model thoroughly founded upon Judeo-Christian values.

          As the lunatic fringe (and just those who are low-information voters) strive for an increasing “secular” government, they forget that this same governmental structure that forbids the establishment of religion is completely incompatible with Islam. That is, there is no way to have a truly “secular” government without letting in the weeds and noxious poisons.

          We were to have a secular government (in the real sense of the word, which meant non-denominational) and be a religious (mostly Judeo-Christian) people based upon the general set of values we call “Western Civilization.”

          What our Utopian/secular culture is struggling with now is how to have ethics and an overall guiding principle of society and government that is based on “not that” (not Western Civilization). Complicating the process is that these overall guiding principles must then be based on government/politics itself. And that is like basing your ethics upon what liars do.

          Good luck with that.

        • ladykrystyna says:

          “On the other hand, there is no doubt that the early Christians, and I am talking about those Churches Paul wrote to in his Epistles, were pretty much communistic, i.e. they shared their belongings between each other. They were also exhorted to work and not be idle i.e. don’t soak each other.”

          If I recall correctly, Tolkien, a Catholic, created the Hobbits to be what Catholicism was trying to teach – a community that was “at one” with each other. But you can tell from LOTR that it is, as you guys are saying, VOLUNTARY. Because one can see the Hobbits being at one with each other, they live in harmony (well, not complete harmony) with one another. And so The Shire is kind of like a large commune.

          I thought about that one day and it worried me a bit because it seemed so communistic; or even like a theocracy.

          But then I thought some more and for me it became something like a kind of “evolution”, if you will. That what the Catholic Church (or even just Christianity in general) is trying to do, in part, is to gather us in as a family under God and Jesus and Christian teaching. Not by force (although force was used in the past), but voluntarily joining up because you’ve heard The Word and wish to follow.

          If we were all Christian or Catholic, then we could very well live mostly in harmony like the Hobbits do in LOTR.

          Perhaps that is why the Catholic Church kind of falls for the “socialism” and “social justice” pushed by the Left. Because they fell it brings people closer to that kind of Hobbit harmony if you will.

          Except, it’s not voluntary. It’s at the point of gun, for all intents and purposes. And what the Left does certainly isn’t God-based. It’s completely materialistic.

          That’s the part the Catholic Church seems not to understand.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Perhaps that is why the Catholic Church kind of falls for the “socialism” and “social justice” pushed by the Left. Because they fell it brings people closer to that kind of Hobbit harmony if you will.

            Oh, I think that’s exactly why people fall for it. One of the tricks of cult programming is to ramp up in a person’s guilt, angst, and just bad feelings. You make them feel little, unsafe, insignificant, and even evil. You get them so wound up that when you ofter them an “out,” they are only too glad to take it.

            Swear to god, I remember a friend of mine, right after the election of Obama in 2008, say that at least now we could all get along. And this fellow was one of the most noxious, partisan, caustic liberals I’ve ever met. He really did pine for an end to bickering. But what he was too blind to see was that the Democrat Party (to which he is a strong adherent) had whipped up all this angst in the first place just to be able to offer people an “out.” This is how cult programming works.

            Even despite that factor, everyone seems to pine for some big Kumbaya Utopia. But I don’t. I want a world without wars. But I’m frankly okay with the person walking down the street not saying a “Good morning to you, sir.” I like a certainly level of friendly and unobtrusive distance.

            But if a person wants to join a commune, then join a commune. Such places are generally where naive dreams go to be smashed. But I did read Brother Merton’s Seven Story Mountain and it is generally an interesting tale of this man’s life which included details of his life in one of the strictest Orders that still exists, the Trappists. (No, not the von Trappists…those are them other guys in the lederhosen).

            I pretty much now laugh at the over-used word “community” even as I am going to tell all of you that some kind of sense of brotherhood or sisterhood is an okay ideal to shoot for. But it’s all a matter of proportion. I prefer something between individual anarchy and The Stepford Wives.

            Funny thing is, most families that I’ve ever known don’t make for very good communes. But I think we all pine for that nice idealistic family. We didn’t quite give up on that dream when we switched from “Leave it to Beaver” to “Married with Children,” although we did do that dream great damage.

            And there’s nothing wrong with that dream of “community.” It just depends on the wisdom level of the participants. I depends on whether that community is glued together by conformity or something nobler. Your typical options are religion, sex, and/or drugs as an organizing principle.

            But can one have a “community” of ideas? I think so. I think we have little choice. America is going to the dogs. Many of the people you see are “nice” but they’re not “good.” They’re sort of the equivalent of the Stepford Wives (or Husbands). They’re not real. There is no depth or soul to them. And I can’t live without being around people who do have some depth and soul.

            And I’m getting old enough to not confuse Kumbaya-wanting with Kumbaya itself. Just wishing for positive vibes I think is transient and not particularly productive. For a good commune or community to assemble itself and be solid and stable, it must rest on something more than good intentions or the desire to escape angst.

    • ladykrystyna says:

      “whatever that “something” is, it is a blockage to a better relationship with God.”

      That is always how I thought of that story with Jesus and the young man, or Jesus saying that a rich man would find it hard to get into Heaven:

      That if you put earthly things above God, that is not a good thing. So it’s not a sin to be rich, but rather to be rich and put money and material things above God. God should always be first, no matter what socio-economic class you are in.

      Plus I also heard an interesting interpretation of the camel and the needle’s eye: That it wasn’t meant to be taken literally. That the “eye of the needle” was the small entrance to large cities that was only open at night to prevent marauders getting in. That during the day, the big gates were open in order to let merchants in with all their goods. A rich man would find it hard to get through the eye of the needle if he was bringing all his belongings with him. But just a camel could fit through.

      That makes way more sense than reading it literally.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    “J” just contacted me and told me the name to use in his byline. And I hope you all recognize our good friend, Geoph2, one of the truly thoughtful people over there at NRO.

    • CCWriter CCWriter says:

      All right! Welcome Geoph2!

      (By the way, if you’re on Twitter, follow us, won’t you? And even if you aren’t, please tell your friends about StubbornThings.)

      –CCWriter, Chief Twit

      • Jeph says:

        Thanks for the welcome CC.
        I don’t “faceweet” or “twibook”, but I hear there’s this thing new fangled thing called “e-mail” …… ;-p

        This is a nice place you guys set up. Thoughtful, reasonable, respectful, and non-pompous (self-evaluation not included, of course)

        • CCWriter CCWriter says:

          Neither do I do facespace, although I’m part of the chain-link, and I didn’t chirp with the birdies before I volunteered to be Chief Twit here.

          Anyway, however you do it, feel free to telephone, telegraph, and tell-a-friend. (Oh, and do check the StubbornThings Twitter stream anyway, for some upcoming messages that have fun with the media theme. Just go to http://www.stubbornthings.org/media/twitter/)

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