Monday, September 30, 2013

The best commentary I've read yet on the Pope Francis interview

Larry Chapp, a retired professor of theology at De Sales University, wrote one of the best commentaries I've seen to date on the recent, big interview with the Holy Father, called, "Honest Francis."  In the beginning, he cites the analysis by Phil Lawler that I recommended last week, "The key to understanding Pope Francis: The 99 lost sheep." 

Here is just one excerpt to raise your curiosity, but you have to read the whole thing for full context.

"People like me and some bloggers I have read, who suffered through the 'silly season' of the post-conciliar Church, must resist with all of our power the temptation to view these Papal words as a dangerous window letting the clown masses back in. We were scarred by that experience in the 70′s. I know I was and it colors deeply my fears over those 'Commonweal words'. But this is not 1975 anymore and Francis is not a 'wacky,' liberal, 1970′s bishop. The time has come therefore to recognize that the people behind the silly season were not entirely wrong. The pre-conciliar Church was juridical and dogmatic and stuffy and rigid. It collapsed almost immediately after the Council for good reasons: the post-war Church’s apparent outward strength was masking some very serious defects. And despite their lunacy the post-conciliar liberals were on to something deeply true in many ways. Perhaps it is now time for many of us who were formed in those battles to admit that. That is why I fault so many in the Right-wing blogosphere for publicly venting their spleens. I am saying 'Listen more guys, and be still—we may have something to learn here.'"

My thoughts immediately turned to some conversations I had with a self-proclaimed, "former Catholic; non-demonimational Christian" (just for the record, once baptized in the Church, one cannot be a 'former Catholic' no matter how much they declare it.)  I'll go into some detail on those conversations in another post because there are some good things to learn from that when it comes to evangelization.

I know some will get their dander up over what Dr. Chapp just said there, but please be sure to read the whole thing and reflect on it in prayer before reacting.  Think of people you know who have fallen away or are not fully practicing.  It wasn't just a lack of catechesis that permitted this, or even Masses filled with abuses.  Many fallen away or lukewarm Catholics I know had some of the best catechetics offered - in the days of the Baltimore Catechism.  There were other kinds of deficiencies that could be easy to miss for those not looking very closely.  Hopefully, I can illustrate that with my story, maybe tomorrow.