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Monday, September 22, 2014

Stock up on bilberries.

Royal Air Force pilots during the Second World War reported that ingesting bilberries improved their night vision.

It's not often that I offer health advice here, but I think it's relevant now, what with the bombshell news that Pope Francis appointed Blase Joseph Cupich as the next Archbishop of Chicago.

Now, if you processed that news and are still the proud owner of a foam finger that says "Francis #1!" I don't think this post is for you. In fact, it's really not. In fact, if I post your comment, it will probably be as a sign of how far gone you are.

For those of you taken aback by the appointment of a certified hater of TLM massgoers and pro-lifers--and even Al Kresta!--to one of the most important sees in North America, this post is for you.

An eclipse is at hand, and things are about to get unpleasant for people who think being Catholic has some supernatural value. The bottom lines are four:

  1. First: B.J. Cupich is the man the post-Burke shake-up in the Congregation of Bishops came up with. *This* is the man the Pope wanted to run one of the top three sees on the continent.

*This* is the Pope's vision of the ideal bishop for American Catholics. From that, all else follows. 

The nausea you feel is quite understandable. All the wrong suspects are celebrating his alleged inclusiveness (Disclaimer: "Inclusiveness" and "pastoral" are void with respect to Those People Who Still Believe That Shit). Cupich's public record confirms that he's yet another Dad more popular with other people's children. He's Edward Egan, only with pretensions to intellectualism and sans the charm.

Sing a new church. Actually, an old church. That 70s Church, in fact.

       2.  Second, the Pope just sent a big signal to careerist clerics: picking public fights with  pro-lifers and traditionalists is no obstacle a-tall! In fact, it's your ticket to the top.

Get ready for some unpleasant displays from priests and bishops, alas. Fallen human nature being what it is. 

       3.  If you like your bishop, storm heaven for him. 

Pray God he's not retiring soon, or otherwise the Wuerlwind is going to deposit yet another touchy, iron-fisted "pastoral" dialoguer on your doorstep.

        4.  The hermeneutic of continuity is dead, dead, deadski.

If the Pope was really in tune with his predecessors not named "Paul VI," Bishop Cupich would hit age 75 as the Bishop of Spokane. Pope Francis is a Reformer, and sees himself as one. Unlike Benedict, he's just fine with everything Vatican II did. He's never uttered a cross word about the 21st ecumenical council. Not a one. I'd love to see anything like Benedict's criticisms about V2 (no, not that one...) from him, but they simply do not exist. It was a break with the past, and that's a good thing in his book. To the contrary--the people dwelling in the past are the problem, as he has scolded constantly. And as BJC affirms in this love-fest interview with the National Catholic Reporter (indirect link). This part stands out.

I think that he’s asking us — this is one of things I brought up in my talk in the response to Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga at that conference that we had in Washington last June. I think the pope is giving us a new epistemology, a new way of learning, of knowing — another way in which we’re informed.

The Pope is giving us a new theory of knowledge? And I thought he was just the Pope. 

As they say, "after hubris, nemesis."

It is now clear that this is a papacy to be endured and survived. He has little use for anything that proceeded the last ecumenical council, and even less use for those who anchor their spirituality pre-1962. Sure, you can pray the Rosary 'n stuff, but for pete's sake, don't use math!

It's not going to be pleasant. In fact, it's going to feel a lot like the seventies to a lot of you (or the 2000s, if you were in Mahony, Untener, Clark or Hubbard country). 

It can be endured, though--just recognize the reality and drop the pollyanna. The Pope wants shepherds who smell first and foremost like him, and not at all like disfavored members of his flock. Pray, build, and stay in contact with the other faithful. We will all need the encouragement and support.


  1. Or accept that it's all a farce and quit caring.
    I'm not sure which I've done.

  2. You are right: we need to pray, build, and not give in to despair, (though it can be hard) and support each other.

  3. I've been feeling more and more that a solemn Mass is more respectful to those who are suffering and need to see Christians that love them respectfully praying for them.

    The happy-go-lucky Masses so often pushed on us work best for people who want to replace "Jesus" for "peace" in their speeches before enjoying a nice 3-course dinner.

    Perhaps that's why I've been spending so much time stripping away distractions so that I can better focus on what I love, and what connects me to the transcendent.

  4. "It can be endured, though--just recognize the reality and drop the pollyanna."

    That's a key first step, à la the first step to sanity is admitting that you have a problem.

    The NYT classified Cupich as a moderate compared to George, who had an "unyielding loyalty to Catholic doctrine". That's the kind of shift our "moderate" pope wants, and is effecting. The road to Hell is being freshly repaved, but we must still acknowledge that it is the road to Hell, and walk shoulder to shoulder in the other direction.

  5. I'm afraid that you are right on all counts. The only thing that I can see as a saving presence on the ground in the USA is that most young priests and seminarians are of the JP2/B16 molds. It will take a while for progressive young men to get through seminary, and maybe by that time we'll have a conservative pope again and they will lose heart. If there is one thing we know about progressive Catholics, it is that the majority of them check out of the active practice of the Faith when conservative Catholicism is ascendant. Those priestly promises of prayer, obedience, and celibacy seem awful daunting when faced with the prospect of popes and bishops who intend to enforce them.


  6. There is a logical, reasonable, and wholly Catholic alternative course. Join a Byzantine Rite parish. The Divine Liturgy is (literally) heaven on earth,

  7. This blog is pretty sad in my opinion. How can we continue to attack the pope? Is he not the man God chose to lead his church? How can we think we know better than he how to run the church. Perhaps we should take a deeper look at our own charity towards others and not continue to beat others up if we don't feel they live up to our personal form of Catholism. Cling to the Mary, the Eucharist and the Pope. God gave us Francis as our leader. If David can follow Saul, I surely can follow Francis. Let us examine our own lives and see where we need amendment. Do we love our neighbor? Do we love 'progressive' Catholics as much as Jesus did? If not, why not?

    1. Before the conclave Benedict the Beloved was asked about the Holy Spirit working in the council. he said something along the lines of, "Of course the Holy Spirit works in the council, but that doesn't mean the electors can't muck things up and select a Pope who isn't good for the Church." When the people are unfaithful, God punishes them by sending bad shepherds. Anyone who doesn't believe the current Church is dying is a bigger fool than Francis.

  8. Two comments that will not be published:

    1. Our former scourge, James "Ben Yachov" Scott demonstrating once again that he reads very selectively.

    2. LWC, a reliable troll over at The American Catholic, who started off with a reference to...wait for it...Pharisees.

    How inventive.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. "Is he not the man God chose to lead his church?...God gave Francis as our leader."

    No, Mark, he's not and He didn't. That's not how the Holy Spirit works. God doesn't elect the Pope, unless you'd care to argue that Alexander VI and John XII were equally selected by God. Which suggests a particularly horrifying blot on God's goodness, when you come right down to it. So your argument is horribly flawed from the start.

    As to the rest, Mark, I'm glad you've had good experiences with progressive Catholics. I do love them, but just because I love someone doesn't mean I have to give them the keys to my car or relish the damage they do.

  11. God gave us poison ivy too. I guess His Will is to roll around in it every chance we get it to show that we respect that the three leaves represent the Trinity?

  12. Grettings to all here. A reaction or opinion of the following. The new arch-bishop elect does have a track record that is not going to be cleaned up very easily. In fact, expect the worse to de done. How does that affect my salvation? The present elected Pope Francis, very much running the show. But again, how does that affect my salvation? Why do i ask that question twice? Because if because of them my salvation depended, then i will really understand the importance of this blog. Yet, because of the formation received, i know now that my salvation does not depend on Pope Francis nor the newly elected Arch-bishop. This depends on my decision to know, love and serve God and by these mean, save my soul. It is good to learn and to know the Catholic doctrine but it is more important to live the doctrine according to Christ. His examples. It is sad that even though we all go to the same altar, we do not let the act of the altar influence us. We prefer to raise OUR knowledge, OUR opinion, OUR PRIDE. In effect of this, we loose a piece of ourselves because of vanity and pride. Let God judge them. We must continue to work for our salvation.