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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes."

Polytheism is back, and it wears a crucifix.

Or, perhaps more accurately, a resurrefix.

That is, alas, the logical conclusion of the current pontiff's recent statement opening the reception of the previously-Catholic sacrament of the Eucharist to pretty much everybody who has thought about it really hard and thinks they have engaged in an internal dialogue with Christ on the topic.

If there were some way to be nice about the...emotive bafflegab offered by the successor of Peter, I would. But there's not, so I won't. Here it is, in full, so I can't be accused of cherry-picking:

The question on sharing the Lord’s Supper isn’t easy for me to respond to, above all in front of a theologian like Cardinal Kasper – I’m scared! 

I think of how the Lord told us when he gave us this mandatum to “do this in memory of me,” and when we share the Lord’s Supper, we recall and we imitate the same as the Lord. And there will be the Lord’s Supper in the final banquet in the new Jerusalem – it’ll be there! But that will be the last one… in the meantime, I ask myself and don’t know how to respond – what you’re asking me, I ask myself the question. To share the Lord’s banquet: is it the goal of the path or is it the viaticum [etym. “to accompany you on the journey”] for walking together? I leave that question to the theologians and those who understand. 

It’s true that in a certain sense, to share means that there aren’t differences between us, that we have the same doctrine – underscoring that word, a difficult word to understand. But I ask myself: but don’t we have the same Baptism? If we have the same Baptism, shouldn’t we be walking together? And you’re a witness of a likewise profound journey, a journey of marriage: itself a journey of family and human love and of a shared faith, no? We have the same Baptism. 

When you feel yourself a sinner – and I’m much more of a sinner – when your husband feels he’s sinned, you go forward to the Lord and ask forgiveness; your husband does the same and also goes to the priest and asks absolution, [thus] I’m healed and kept alive in my Baptism. When you pray together, that Baptism grows, becomes stronger. When you teach your kids who is Jesus? Why did Jesus come? What did Jesus do for us?, you’re doing the same thing, whether in the Lutheran language or the Catholic one, but it’s the same. 

The question [Pope draws question mark with his finger]…. The supper? There are questions that only if one is sincere with oneself and the little theological light one has, must be responded to on one’s own. See for yourself. This is my body. This is my blood. Do it in remembrance of me – this is a viaticum that helps us to journey on. 

I once had a great friendship with a bishop who went a little wrong – 48 years old, he married [then had] two children. This made for great discomfort in him – a Catholic wife, Catholic children, him a bishop. He accompanied them on Sunday, his wife and children, to Mass, and then went to worship with his community…. It was a step toward his participation in the Lord’s Supper. Then he went forward, then the Lord called him [to realize] “I’m not right.” 

I can only respond to your question with a question: what can I do with my husband that the Lord’s Supper might accompany me on my path? It’s a problem that each must answer [for themselves], but a pastor-friend once told me that “We believe that the Lord is present there, he is present” – you believe that the Lord is present. And what's the difference? There are explanations, interpretations, but life is bigger than explanations and interpretations. Always refer back to your baptism – one faith, one baptism, one Lord: this Paul tells us; and then consequences come later. 

I would never dare to give permission to do this, because it’s not my own competence. One baptism, one Lord, one faith. Talk to the Lord and then go forward. [Pauses] And I wouldn't dare – I don’t dare say anything more.

That's an interesting argument--for open communion.

The only authoritative guide is conscience, however formed. Clearly, Catholicism plays no role, as he's responding to a Lutheran here.

Revelation? Eh, no! If you feel that it's the body and blood of Christ in some way, that's what counts. You certainly don't have to buy into that Holy Sacrifice of the Mass/Transubstantiation stuff that only a Doctor of the Law (boo, hiss!) could possibly care about. The re-presentation of Calvary?

It's the supper.

Insisting on more is a majoring in minors that will call down upon you the predictable rhetorical thunder

Older Brother! Doctor of the Law! Pharisee! Bat Christian, afraid to dance! Promethian neo-pelagian! In short...

Sure, he offers a lot of equally-emotional language about baptism, but implicit desire for that sacrament will suffice.

Confession? Surely, you jest. 

I'm actually slightly disappointed, because that was one aspect of his program I appreciated--the touting of the sacrament of Penance. Clearly, such is not required of Lutherans, and he's not going to be insisting on such trifles from Christians he actually likes. Indeed, he does not do so here. 

No, sadly it seems that Penance is just for Catholics, and then just as part of a process of ridding oneself of rigorism, judgment, unseemly attachment to doctrine and other Doctor-of-the-Law badness he's trying to flail out of his flock.

And the requirements of Canon Law? 

This Bishop of Rome has an almost-antinomian insouciance towards authoritative laws and rules. So far, it seems he has precisely two uses for the Codex Iuris Canonici: (1) to ensure more annulments and (2) to expeditiously replace bishops who are not on board with his program.

If you can cobble together any objective basis for not receiving the Eucharist using the above rationale deployed by the pontiff, I'm all ears.

The bottom line is that the only guide to receiving is the infallible self, unsullied by exterior concerns (i.e., formation by magisterial teaching). Such, after all, can be corrupting traditions of men and thus cannot be of the mind of Christ. At a bare minimum, they are divisive.

With each man as the bearer of the voice of God, you have, in effect, the Church as a cult of one billion gods. Each equally right, each equally authoritative, each equally beyond challenge.

There are scriptural precedents for such thinking--but not in a good way.

Alas, we have no excuse for such thinking--because we have a King, reigning eternally.


  1. If this crud happens anywhere near me and is a publicly announced in some ecumenical journal, site, etc, I'll be there praying the rosary 5 feet away from the tabernacle (assuming there IS a tabernacle and it's not in the church's basement or tool shed). I may get arrested. I don't care. Take a peek that today's first reading the NO missal. Just call me "Eleazar". I also am too old for this crud to stand... brrr...

  2. Just a hint from the scriptures for today, Nov. 19th... I was wondering what the pope was going to preach on since the first reading tells us that the faithful would do anything to observe their laws and statues faithfully... What would the present bishop of rome think of that!

  3. Does the Biblical passage used as the heading of this blog entry mean, in the original context (I think a few places), that the land was in moral chaos and needed a king? Because later, in a dialog between Samuel and God on the people's demand for a king, The Lord appears reluctant to give them one, though he relents.