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Is Pope Francis a Fraud?
March 17, 2013 10:52 AM   Subscribe

After a right-wing coup crushed the reforms of Vatican II, one scholar says the last two popes are illegitimate. It comes near the end of a thousand-year history of the Vatican’s global rise to power, ambiguous flourishing and rapid decline. It also comes after 40 years of internal counterrevolution under the previous two popes, during which a group of hardcore right-wing cardinals have consolidated power in the Curia and stamped out nearly all traces of the 1960s liberal reform agenda of Pope John XXIII and Vatican II. A handful of intellectuals, both inside and outside the church, quietly believe that means Pope Francis isn’t a legitimate pope at all.
posted by Glibpaxman (118 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Bearing in mind there's a small but vocal minority within the Church who cling to the conviction that every Pope since Pius the somethingth has been illegitimate and that the Vatican 2 reforms in particular were improper; and that there are many people in the USA who will never admit that President Obama is legally the POTUS. There is always a segment of people who will buy into a particular political process only exactly as long as the outcome suits them.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 11:03 AM on March 17, 2013 [43 favorites]


Nope.
posted by Fizz at 11:06 AM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The headline Salon put on that is kind of inflammatory. But it's really a think piece on whether the last few Popes have let Catholics down after the promises of Vatican II.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:07 AM on March 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


If I understand this - the argument is that Popes John Paul II and Benedict were illegitimate because they acted contrary to the decisions of the Vatican II in the opinion of people who disagree with their acts. I'm not Catholic nor a scholar of the church, but is there something in the Vatican II which placed requirements and demands, better yet, were prerequisites for the office of the Papacy and the failure to execute them results in the loss of popehood?

Cause...otherwise, it just seems one group of Catholics believing Y refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of other Catholics who believe X.

Thus, this lead is kind of hyped up.
posted by Atreides at 11:08 AM on March 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Worth noting that there's yet another school of thought which holds that Francis is illegitimate because the office can't be resigned.
posted by tyllwin at 11:08 AM on March 17, 2013


I don't know if illegitimate is the right word. There was an attempt to liberalize Catholicism, to some extent, and it faced a significant backlash. I may dislike it entirely, but essentially saying you don't like the way something is run, especially such a absolutist entity as THE CHURCH and the Pontiff, is not really the same as it being illegitimate. Who would enforce it? When the come back is "It's what God wants", and there is no review process, there is no argument to be had, it is all a matter of opinion and desire.
posted by edgeways at 11:09 AM on March 17, 2013


I am not an expert on church stuff, but I heard Francis isn't even his real name.
posted by ryanrs at 11:09 AM on March 17, 2013 [55 favorites]


Inflammatory is an under-statement, this is first-class link-bait.
posted by skewed at 11:09 AM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find it hard to take seriously an article that attempts to draw a line separating Ratzinger and Vatican II. Why? He was at Vatican II. I mean, I don't like the guy's positions on just about anything, but come on, at least have read his Wikipedia page.
posted by hoyland at 11:10 AM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


All popes are illegitimate.

/Protestant
posted by Sys Rq at 11:11 AM on March 17, 2013 [37 favorites]


Bearing in mind there's a small but vocal minority within the Church who cling to the conviction that every Pope since Pius the somethingth has been illegitimate and that the Vatican 2 reforms in particular were improper

You're thinking of the Society of St. Pius X and they aren't really Catholics . Like all other people who break away from the Catholic Church they think they are the real Catholics, of course. Hopefully Francis will be the one to bring them back in.

Also, yet another article about Francis in which the word "Xavier" is nowhere to be found.
posted by michaelh at 11:13 AM on March 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


Worth noting that there's yet another school of thought which holds that Francis is illegitimate because the office can't be resigned.

It's been resigned before. Wouldn't that make all intervening popes since the previous resignation illegitimate, too?
posted by kenko at 11:14 AM on March 17, 2013


On second read, the "is he legitimate?" lead was trollish, for sure. I thought that the "what happened to Vatican II?" bit was worthwhile. Were I still a practicing Catholic, I might not have been able to forgive the former to talk about the latter either.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:14 AM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sue.
posted by Segundus at 11:19 AM on March 17, 2013


You want a Pope named Sue?
posted by biffa at 11:20 AM on March 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


Wouldn't that make all intervening popes since the previous resignation illegitimate,

So it would seem to me. Because then the cardinals and bishops would have been elevated by an anti-pope. It's a lunatic fringe position that I just thought was curious enough to mention. If memory serves, they argued that the intervening popes were legitimized by the some Council or other. Constance, or maybe Trent?
posted by tyllwin at 11:23 AM on March 17, 2013


Actually, yes.
posted by notreally at 11:23 AM on March 17, 2013


Actually, yes.
posted by notreally at 11:23 AM on March 17 [+] [!]


I'm getting mixed messages here.
posted by Foosnark at 11:27 AM on March 17, 2013 [27 favorites]


I was just thinking that the only thing this century was missing was an antipope.

But that actual argument, headline aside, is interesting. The Second Vatican Council and the statements on the church it produced are the official policy of the Catholic church. Ecumenical councils supersede pretty much anything, popes included (except probably ex cathedra pronouncements?), in terms of church policy. If, and that's the debatable part, John Paul II and Benedict XVI diverged sufficiently from Vatican II, they would be technically schismatic and thus illegitimate.

If that were the case then it doesn't automatically mean that Francis or any following popes are necessarily illegitimate. They just have to follow church policy properly. Although the issue of cardinals elevated during the two previous tenures is a bit thorny.

Intriguing idea.
posted by figurant at 11:29 AM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


On second read, the "is he legitimate?" lead was trollish, for sure. I thought that the "what happened to Vatican II?" bit was worthwhile.

The problem is I think the article's still really stunt-y. I mean, the reason I know a young Joseph Ratzinger was at Vatican II is because it's so bizarre given who he grew up to be. Whatever happened in between has been a question on liberal Catholicism's mind for some time.
posted by hoyland at 11:30 AM on March 17, 2013


You know someone is a deep thinker who's right about their minority opinion when they "quietly" believe or do something. Also, if they are "warm," if they have "concerns," or if they drink tea or coffee in the interview or smile when asked about their family.
posted by michaelh at 11:31 AM on March 17, 2013 [21 favorites]


It's interesting to me as another piece of the Vatican Civil War going on at the moment. The Curia and vati-leaks, the sex scandals and what to do about it, and this whole schism on Vatican II make for quite the split
posted by Glibpaxman at 11:36 AM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is Francis still a fraud if he restores whatever bits of Vatican II the previous two popes have ignored? Or does that legitimize him even if he was elevated to pope by the fraudulent system?
posted by maryr at 11:40 AM on March 17, 2013


As a Catholic who grew up with Paul VI and Vatican II, I have to admit I've wondered exactly where the wheels fell off on liberalization. But to call the last two popes illegitimate is just sour grapes. Besides, the spirit of Vatican II is alive in many places even if it's kept quiet out of fear of repression.
posted by tommasz at 11:42 AM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not Catholic nor a scholar of the church, but is there something in the Vatican II which placed requirements and demands, better yet, were prerequisites for the office of the Papacy and the failure to execute them results in the loss of popehood?

Generally, yes. Vatican II was an ecumenical council, not just some random gathering of cardinals taking about stuff. From wiki:

The doctrine of the infallibility of ecumenical councils states that solemn definitions of ecumenical councils, approved by the Pope, which concern faith or morals, and to which the whole Church must adhere are infallible.

But then again...

The doctrine does not claim that every aspect of every ecumenical council is infallible.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 11:43 AM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Then there's the position that it's all such a preposterous, small-B byzantine, self-referential contrivance that the question is simply not meaningful.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:48 AM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


...That article doesn't really say what the previous popes did that was anti-Vatican II, by the way. It was they expelled some guys and a couple other guys didn't like them. They didn't take a liberal read on the "ambiguous Latin prose".

The article pretty much feels like an ad for Fox's new book to me.
posted by maryr at 11:51 AM on March 17, 2013


fork the pope?
posted by ennui.bz at 11:59 AM on March 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Is this saying those Popes weren't reallyinfallible? Or was the last "legitimate" Pope who ushered in Vatican II actually fallible after all, since his successors didn't end up following his dictates, and thus he was the illegitimate one?

The business of determining which earthly avatar is the "real" one that speaks with the infallible word of God would be a lot easier if God would just tell us which is the real Vicar of Christ rather than leave the world literally watching a smokestack.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:01 PM on March 17, 2013


Also, yet another article about Francis in which the word "Xavier" is nowhere to be found.

Why should it? Pope Francis named himself for St. Francis of Assisi
posted by Ranucci at 12:10 PM on March 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Avignon.
posted by clavdivs at 12:12 PM on March 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I heard there may be another Pope out in the woods somewhere.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:19 PM on March 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Them that owns the funny hats makes the rules. So long as a group is in possession of the Vatican, they are gonna call the shots, and what anyone else says is irrelevant. Especially in religious matters where interpretations are limitless.
posted by emjaybee at 12:20 PM on March 17, 2013


Sys Rq: "All popes are illegitimate. /Protestant"

All popes are legitimate.

/Discordian
posted by idiopath at 12:22 PM on March 17, 2013 [37 favorites]


So they are amazed, and appalled, to learn that the Pope actually is Catholic after all?

Wait until they find out what bears really do in the woods.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:23 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


which concern faith or morals

This is the critical phrase on which Fox's claim hinges and which would, in theory, require litigation under the 1983 Code of Canon Law (of which I am certainly not an expert). Of course, the Pope is himself the supreme judge of canon law, so such a process might be entirely fruitless, but it would appear in general that an ecumenical council's decrees need the support of the Pope to take effect.

Note, relevant to the resignation issue:
§2. If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.
posted by Apropos of Something at 12:23 PM on March 17, 2013


Sys Rq: "All popes are illegitimate. /Protestant"

idiopath: All popes are legitimate. /Discordian


Are Popes electric?

/garynuman
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:24 PM on March 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Jesuits take a vow to obey the pope, but to never accept high office in the church. A Jesuit shouldn't be a Bishop or Cardinal either. A Jesuit pope is - for Jesuits - an head exploding situation. A poor church for the poor makes a lot of Catholics such as me Irish mother extremely uncomfortable - her predictable reaction on the news of his election "Is he even a Catholic?" sums it up.
posted by three blind mice at 12:27 PM on March 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


You want a Pope named Sue?

Well, he grew up quick and he grew up mean...
posted by A dead Quaker at 12:28 PM on March 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


What we need is an antipope. The we could see what happened when we combine them.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:31 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd like five Popes named Moe.

There's Big Moe, Little Moe, Four-Eyed Moe, No Moe
Look at cardinal, look at cardinal, look at cardinal Eat Moe.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:33 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems a lot of people think Vatican II was more liberal than it actually was.
posted by spaltavian at 12:42 PM on March 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


The constitutions of Vatican II were intended to modernize the Church in the sense of its engagement with the life and ways of the laity, not in the sense of making its historical and normative theology conform to left-wing sentiments of the 1960s, to say the least of making it permanently mutable so as always to change to fit whatever happened to be prevailing left-wing sentiment going forward.

People like Matthew Fox nevertheless had a nice run of about 25 years when they misrepresented Vatican II as mandating precisely the latter dynamic. That movement's failure was inevitable if for no other reason than it could only last one generation: the old-faithful leftists had an attachment formed in the days orthodoxy -- their children (literal and intellectual) weren't going to form a lifelong religious attachment to what was simply that week's bien-pensant talk taken into the pews and punctuated with "Kumbayaa."

I was raised in that "left-wing's Sunday" Catholic Church in the 80s and I can tell you that the only people I knew from those days who have remained Catholic had Reagan-voting parents who scoffed at the priest's homilies about US oppression in Latin America, and whose religiously-linked political expression was limited to the odd pro-life vigil.
posted by MattD at 12:47 PM on March 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


Or what Spaltavian said more succinctly!
posted by MattD at 12:48 PM on March 17, 2013


The name for it is Sedevacantism. It's one of the biggest red flags for ideology eating away the areas of your brain responsible for rational thought, trumping all the other batshit red flags like birtherism, truthism, randian objectivism, advocating the return of the gold standard and being an active member of occupy wall street.
posted by gertzedek at 12:58 PM on March 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: The headline Salon put on that is kind of inflammatory
posted by liketitanic at 12:59 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


All popes are illegitimate.

/Protestant


and are in fact agents of Satan, the dark lord having infiltrated the Vatican many centuries ago. This according to a good friend's Baptist uncle when I was about fifteen, and he twigged to the fact that my friend had somehow foolishly invited an RC into the family home.

Me and friend heard him out, then slipped outside down by the freeway to smoke a joint. Later, we put on some Led Zeppelin.
posted by philip-random at 1:24 PM on March 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


I was raised in that "left-wing's Sunday" Catholic Church in the 80s and I can tell you that the only people I knew from those days who have remained Catholic had Reagan-voting parents who scoffed at the priest's homilies about US oppression in Latin America

In fairness, historical evidence has proven the priest more right than the Reagan voters.
posted by jaduncan at 1:26 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


The name for it is Sedevacantism. It's one of the biggest red flags for ideology eating away the areas of your brain responsible for rational thought, trumping all the other batshit red flags like birtherism, truthism, randian objectivism, advocating the return of the gold standard and being an active member of occupy wall street.

I'm fascinated with sedevacantism, and with its natural end product, the kind of guys who pope out of their home.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:26 PM on March 17, 2013


Worth noting that there's yet another school of thought which holds that Francis is illegitimate because the office can't be resigned.
It's been resigned before. Wouldn't that make all intervening popes since the previous resignation illegitimate, too?
It's been resigned in exchange for money from the next Pope. Uh, in direct apostolic succession.
posted by Flunkie at 1:33 PM on March 17, 2013


"People like Matthew Fox nevertheless had a nice run of about 25 years when they misrepresented Vatican II as mandating precisely the latter dynamic."

Yeah, those episodes of Lost really sucked.
posted by litlnemo at 1:43 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


The priest may well have been right about Latin America just like he might have been right that Montana was a better QB than Theisman, but ultimately they were just about equivalent (equivalently useless) as a basis for instilling regular churchgoing and sending your own kids to CCD 25 years hence.

What's funny is that many of those who stayed in the Church because they were raised by comservatives who didn't fall for the hippy priest, guitar mass shtick, aren't especially conservative in politics themselves. The (religiously) orthodox Church these days is politically quite heterodox (as indeed it was pre-Vatican II).
posted by MattD at 1:45 PM on March 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's a good article at Wikipedia under "Magisterium" which explains infallibility (both papal and ecumenical councils) as regards the teaching authority of the Church.
posted by coldhotel at 2:01 PM on March 17, 2013


Why should it? Pope Francis named himself for St. Francis of Assisi

Ah, neat. I heard something else the day of but this sets the record straight. Good choice.
posted by michaelh at 2:09 PM on March 17, 2013


Besides, the spirit of Vatican II is alive in many places even if it's kept quiet out of fear of repression.
Much like Bergoglio and the Argentinian priests then?
posted by adamvasco at 2:17 PM on March 17, 2013


I see this is as a fairly subtle bit of Catholic propaganda. It presents the church as a dynamic place in which warring factions fight for the soul of the hierarchy, and the body of Christ has some say in the ongoing health of the organization. Even as it decries the inflexibility of the current officers of the church, it presents a picture of doctrinal flexibility that permits outsiders to consider themselves Catholic-in-spirit. It's Goldsteinism, in other words.

The article should have stopped at the first paragraph.
posted by fatbird at 2:20 PM on March 17, 2013


Is this saying those Popes weren't reallyinfallible? Or was the last "legitimate" Pope who ushered in Vatican II actually fallible after all, since his successors didn't end up following his dictates, and thus he was the illegitimate one?

This isn't actually what papal infallibility is about.
posted by hoyland at 2:22 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pope Francis named himself for St. Francis of Assisi

He might have said that but in reality he was already planning his first mission - to save Los Angeles. He's probably already getting the t-shirts printed. Frank I goes to Hollywood.
posted by biffa at 2:33 PM on March 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Time to check real estate prices in Avignon, I guess?
posted by Michael Roberts at 2:46 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


All popes are legitimate.

/Discordian


To be fair, so are the momes.
posted by mrgoat at 2:48 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Illegitimate for 959 years, if you ask me. And Leo IX wasn't up to much either.

/orthodox
posted by ambrosen at 2:51 PM on March 17, 2013 [5 favorites]



What's funny is that many of those who stayed in the Church because they were raised by comservatives who didn't fall for the hippy priest, guitar mass shtick, aren't especially conservative in politics themselves. The (religiously) orthodox Church these days is politically quite heterodox (as indeed it was pre-Vatican II).


[citation needed]
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:10 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


At least there's an uptick of interest in certain other popes.
posted by dhartung at 3:15 PM on March 17, 2013


All popes are legitimate.

/Discordian

To be fair, so are the momes.


Only if they rath outgrabe. That's important to be considered a legitimate mome.
posted by mephron at 3:25 PM on March 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I was just thinking that the only thing this century was missing was an antipope.

Here you go. (classic The Damned, from Machine Gun Ettiquette)
posted by msalt at 3:35 PM on March 17, 2013


Is Francis still a fraud if he restores whatever bits of Vatican II the previous two popes have ignored? Or does that legitimize him even if he was elevated to pope by the fraudulent system?

Depends on what kind of version control system the Vatican uses. Under CVS they could do a Papal rollback, but git would require them to make a new change set that undoes the last few Popes.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:50 PM on March 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


One of the earliest things I wrote for kuro5hin was The Fish Goes Away, a speculation that the RCC's odd behavior was fueled more by their own astrological divination than by outside influences.

I thoroughly believe that the election of Pope Francis is the same thing only in fourth gear instead of second. They not only elected a Jesuit Pope, they elected a Jesuit who eschews wealth and embraces poverty.

The reason there has never been a Jesuit pope is that the Jesuits teach that faith should not be blind, but should be the conclusion of a thoughtful and educated reflection on the glory of God's creation. Many Jesuits are scientists, and Francis himself was trained as a chemist. This has naturally put them on the edge of apostasy several times over the centuries, as they have not been shy of preferring the lessons of God's creation to those of the Vatican when they contradict.

Picking a Jesuit for Pope is nothing less than a full surrender to the reality of a new Aquarian era, with its foundation in skepticism, thought, invention, and progress. This is how the Church admits it will never be able to quash the next Galileo when his unfortunate conclusions threaten to diminish Church authority.

But Francis is also a man of humility who lives in a small apartment instead of the lush mansion that is his to claim as a Cardinal, takes public transportation, mingles with the poor and teaches that others of his station should do the same. For the other Cardinals to select this man suggests that the Church knows its time as a repository of vast wealth is limited and its only hope for a continued future is to embed itself within those populations who both accept and need its teaching.

If Francis being a jesuit was a surrender to a new climate of free thought and inquiry, Francis' teaching that, while he is anti-Communist and anti-union, some mechanism must reverse the concentration of the world's wealth into the hands of a few psychopaths and soulless corporations is a poke in the eye to the new order. This is the hill the Church is planning to die on.

As for all those pesky sexual issues -- well, neither Pisces nor Aquarius has much to say about passion, and the Church astrologers have probably calculated that this part of their strategy, of channeling sexual energy into more productive directions via taboo, is not inconsistent with the new age. This is why someone so progressive in a couple of key areas can be so atavistic in another equally popular one.

Popularity has nothing to do with any of this. The selection of Francis had nothing to do with external influences at all, except inasmuch as those have verified an internal dread. The Church isn't changing direction because of rallies or outside pressure. It's changing direction because its own divination system is telling it that it has to.
posted by localroger at 3:55 PM on March 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


Illegitimate for 959 years, if you ask me. And Leo IX wasn't up to much either.

/orthodox


So they are unorthodox as well as illegitimate? You are quite the iconoclast.
posted by TedW at 3:55 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


You are quite the iconoclast.

Oh lord, not this again.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:57 PM on March 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


All popes are Carole.

/Canadian
posted by maudlin at 4:01 PM on March 17, 2013


I feel this thread needs a reference to Hutton Gibson - father of Mel. Papa Gibson's rather fond of Sedevacantism.
posted by kariebookish at 4:09 PM on March 17, 2013


But Francis is also a man of humility who lives in a small apartment instead of the lush mansion that is his to claim as a Cardinal

So, I'm curious about this because it's something that keeps getting mentioned. They're not going to sell off the archbishop's official residence. I would assume it's like 10 Downing Street or the White House, i.e. used for stuff besides living in, but, in any case, it's where the Pope would likely stay if he turned up and having somewhere to put up the Pope is probably on the agenda. So it seems like it would be much more practical to not have the archdiocese pay rent somewhere else (or was he living in other church property?) and to live in a small part of the official residence.
posted by hoyland at 4:29 PM on March 17, 2013


My grandmother was involved in some sort of movement to repeal the results of Vatican II. I used to tease her saying that since it involved like 10 papal decrees, and the pope is infallible in all maters of religion, she was a heretic. Her argument was that they were not papal decrees, but council decrees. She took to physically mailing me tracts on Vatican II and papal infalacy in general, making me regret starting the whole thing. You should never troll heretics.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:37 PM on March 17, 2013


You should never troll heretics.

You should never troll retirees. They've got way more time than you to fight back.
posted by fatbird at 4:39 PM on March 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


Of course he's legitimate. He was chosen by Jesus Christ and Hugo Chavez.
posted by homunculus at 4:50 PM on March 17, 2013


When the churches are ordered to destroy their acoustic guitars, you'll know it's all over
posted by thelonius at 5:07 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Francis' teaching that, while he is anti-Communist and anti-union

Anti-union?
posted by jaduncan at 6:04 PM on March 17, 2013




As a Catholic who grew up with Paul VI and Vatican II, I have to admit I've wondered exactly where the wheels fell off on liberalization.


Here in Boston, there are no Catholic youth stalking the Jewish neighborhoods and assaulting Jews.
So liberalization is holding so far as I can see.
posted by ocschwar at 6:14 PM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Anti-union?

I had read that but only from one source. Considering his other qualities it wouldn't surprise me if it's in error. Folks in a lot of circles can't tell the difference between Communism and labor organization.

However, he would have to be anti-Communist, because no matter what the astrologers cast I'm sure that would still be a deal-killer.
posted by localroger at 6:39 PM on March 17, 2013


They're not going to sell off the archbishop's official residence.

Well I'm sure the Church uses it for something. But things like that have a way of getting seized by superior forces when the winds of change blow. I doubt Francis was thinking of that in his pre-Papal days, but he was more thinking of the damage to himself that would result should he indulge in such luxury and forget the suffering of those he prefers to mingle with.

I would be thoroughly pissed off if I was heavily invested in LGBT or pro-Choice issues but there's still a lot to like about the new Pope compared to those who went before. However, I think their decision to totally ignore sexual issues may be a big mistake with regard to clerical celibacy and the pedophilia scandal. I understand why their reading of the horoscope guides them that way but I think RL might move in a more dangerous direction for them.
posted by localroger at 6:45 PM on March 17, 2013


However, he would have to be anti-Communist

Well, yeah. Even outside of the views of the cardinals he survived with high office in junta-era Argentina and had doctrinal infighting against the liberation theology wing.

Discomfortingly supine relationships with dictatorships are again apparently not hugely problematic for advancement and moral authority. I never get why they don't pick some rough analogue for Desmond Tutu; they must have quite a few given the amount of countries they have been involved with.
posted by jaduncan at 6:57 PM on March 17, 2013


"Fox argues, in essence, that the Schillebeeckx doctrine means the official church no longer exists or, to put it another way, that the power of the church has been diffused and now belongs to everyone."

Blessings upon our Holy Father Pope Anonymous I!
Sumus Legionis. Nos non ignoscendum. Nos nolite oblivisci. Expecta nobis.
posted by markkraft at 7:23 PM on March 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.


So, um, come the Second COming, y'all gonna fly into a herd of pigs?
posted by ocschwar at 7:26 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Localroger, what is all this astrology stuff you're referring to?
posted by skewed at 7:56 PM on March 17, 2013


skewed, did you follow the link back to my old K5 article? The RCC has a deep history with astrology and the kaballah most of which was hidden until beans started getting spilled in the 19th century.
posted by localroger at 8:04 PM on March 17, 2013


I'd say that they have all been illegitimate, given that it's a bunch of made-up nonsense, but that's just me.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:22 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


And you're suggesting that available evidence indicates that the cardinals use astrological divination to determine what course the church should take and who the pope should be? Do you believe this is common knowledge within the church? Within the cardinalate?
posted by skewed at 8:30 PM on March 17, 2013


I find it hard to take seriously an article that attempts to draw a line separating Ratzinger and Vatican II. Why? He was at Vatican II.

He never says that Ratzinger wasn't at V2. He says that Ratzinger led the intellectual counter-attack ON V2.

Is this saying those Popes weren't reallyinfallible? Or was the last "legitimate" Pope who ushered in Vatican II actually fallible after all, since his successors didn't end up following his dictates, and thus he was the illegitimate one?

Infallibility isn't an issue here at all, as being pope does not make one infallible.

the pope is infallible in all maters of religion

Again, no.
posted by Saxon Kane at 8:37 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hans Kung prominent and respected theologian, and his take on the situation having participated in Vatican II.( this is an audio). Then today , after election of Pope, his opinion of new Pope. (also audio).
posted by smudgedlens at 8:56 PM on March 17, 2013


First Pope Joan and now this!
posted by anothermug at 8:57 PM on March 17, 2013


I think we're seeing something pretty astonishing from an American Catholic perspective. For the last 35-40 years the American Catholic church has been about three things: Abortion, abortion, and anti-gay activism when it's raining and you can't protest at the abortion clinic. The "left-wing Sunday" MattD spoke of (and I grew up in as well) included abortion, but over the 80s and 90s, as the Republican party became more Catholic and the evangelical Protestant church shed its anti-Papist beliefs in the name of saving babies, the pro-immigrant, pro-poor message of the church was drowned out by the steady drumbeat of the pro-life movement.

So where we stand now is a GOP with a large Catholic base, a Republican leadership that's heavily Catholic, a surge in Catholicism in the Midwest and South even as it suffers in the Northeast and West, and a majority Catholic Supreme Court. We're half a century removed from people asking if JFK would bow to Rome before America, mind you.

And, of course, it's not like there aren't Catholics on the Democratic side; it's just that the GOP is far, far more Catholic than it's ever been.

That party, that GOP, was built on the pro-life movement. It was pro-life Catholics who built the post-Reagan GOP. It's been conservative Catholics that sustain the party. And now that the Protestants are turning into Catholics With Married Ministers (seriously, there's a surge of anti-birth control belief that wasn't there before), you could argue this highly conservative Catholic viewpoint has won.

And nowhere in that discussion do the poor get any mention. Remember, this is the GOP of welfare mothers and Obamacare. And the bishops are in their pocket as much as they are in the bishops' pockets. One could argue the Protestants took the Catholics' pro-life beliefs and the Catholics took the Protestants' so-called "work ethic" and judgement of the poor as deficient.

And now comes Francis, who has all these lovely conservative beliefs they treasure -- virulently anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion, anti-feminism -- but with this tiny little difference: He doesn't think the poor are defective for being poor.

And now the fun is about to really start. Say what you will about Francis' history in the Dirty War, or his strong traditionalist streak, or his 15th century views on women. What's far more interesting is how much his talk about the poor is going to make a whole bunch of people in the GOP-Catholic marriage really uncomfortable. And he's not going to let them sweep it under the rug like they have for the last 40 years.

That little wrinkle is going to make the slow-motion GOP civil war get very messy very fast. And on top of that, that "left wing" Catholicism of the 1980s may well come back in the form of a pro-immigrant, pro-poor Catholic faction that's going to test the Catholicization of the evangelicals.

As for the article, though, it's the same-old same-old. The sort of people who believe in this stuff are just the Catholic version of Birthers and Truthers. There's plenty of legitimate conspiracy and subversion within the Curia already.
posted by dw at 8:58 PM on March 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


Saint Francis of Assisi gets a lot of credit as Pope Francis' namesake, but I suspect he had another Francis in mind. Like the Pope, Saint Francis Solanus was a Jesuit (in early life) and an Argentinian (in later life). Solanus was a Franciscan (the order of Francis of Assisi), so perhaps Pope Francis thought he could honor them both with his name.
posted by foobaz at 10:08 PM on March 17, 2013


And you're suggesting that available evidence indicates that the cardinals use astrological divination to determine what course the church should take and who the pope should be?

I have no idea if they do or don't — but given the things they most certain do believe (transubstantiation is only one example) I really would not be the teensiest least surprised. It really is not a stretch.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:35 PM on March 17, 2013


And you're suggesting that available evidence indicates that the cardinals use astrological divination to determine what course the church should take and who the pope should be?

Or you could argue that they are under the influence of the stars, even though they do not believe themselves to be. I don't believe in astrology myself, but the idea appeals to me as a rough kind of "turn about is fair play".
posted by benito.strauss at 1:11 AM on March 18, 2013


For the last 35-40 years the American Catholic church has been about three things: Abortion, abortion, and anti-gay activism when it's raining and you can't protest at the abortion clinic.

Are you sure about that? I've been to Catholic mass quite a few times; I spent 4 years at a Catholic school. I'm not sure I've ever experienced any of this.

I'm pretty sure I've never seen a catholic-led abortion or anti-gay protest. There is the occasional catholic politician that spouts off, but the church itself is pretty quiet on the issue.
posted by gjc at 3:56 AM on March 18, 2013


I think I personally am really sick of non-Catholics talking about Vatican II, and especially, what they think Catholics think about Vatican II. Or what they think was "Implied" or "Understood" by the participants at Vatican II. Um, no.

The fact that this article opens by talking about the Catholic church's "long slide into irrelevance" means this is in no way a thoughtful article. And that it is about a dude who was essentially kicked out by the Pope and then wrote a book about it..yeah. Fail.
posted by corb at 5:07 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure I've never seen a catholic-led abortion or anti-gay protest. There is the occasional catholic politician that spouts off, but the church itself is pretty quiet on the issue.

I suspect that that may have to do with where you live and the general political climate. I've seen numerous church-sponsored "rallies for life" and the like where I live.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:35 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure I've never seen a catholic-led abortion or anti-gay protest. There is the occasional catholic politician that spouts off, but the church itself is pretty quiet on the issue.

They've been very vocal against gay marriage in Minnesota. In 2010 they mailed DVDs opposing gay marriage to Catholic households in my state.

And, with the support of Pope Benedict XVI, they were very much a part of the campaign for the amendment outlawing gay marriage. Minnesota voted against that amendment last November.
posted by missmerrymack at 5:44 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are you sure about that? I've been to Catholic mass quite a few times; I spent 4 years at a Catholic school. I'm not sure I've ever experienced any of this.

I'm pretty sure I've never seen a catholic-led abortion or anti-gay protest. There is the occasional catholic politician that spouts off, but the church itself is pretty quiet on the issue.


I'd suggest it's almost the opposite. The institution of the Church cares very much about abortion and preventing marriage quality. The archdiocese here went as far to mail every Catholic household (I suppose every household that was a member of a parish) a DVD about the evils of same sex marriage. Apparently it was paid for by an 'anonymous donor', so perhaps they didn't care enough to put up the money, but still.

But in the 9 or 10 years I went to mass as a child? Never mentioned. It's not universal, obviously. I mentioned in the other thread that my best friend resigned from a parish over a homily. (My best friend takes her religion seriously enough to have actually promptly registered in the new parish after moving. Even my dad, who was the previous holder of the title of 'most Catholic person I know', doesn't do that.) I went to high school school with someone who had been taught obviously false things about contraception in a Catholic school. In any case, there's a substantial group of Catholics who are used to their priest making good use of "Well, that's between you and God. The Church says..." as code for "The Church is wrong, but I can't say that. Do what you think is right and don't tell me about it."

Similarly the politicians. I suspect the ones hiding behind their Catholicism (Rick Santorum) are right wing social conservatives independent of their religion. But talking about your religious belief is a good way to get in good with a fundamentalist Protestant base who might be initially hostile to Catholics (they're people who will tell you with dead seriousness that 'Catholics aren't real Christians'), as paradoxical as that seems. But we've hit the point where Catholic politicians as whole, who are probably in line with American Catholics as a whole, aren't strident on these issues. That's why the bishops lashed out at John Kerry and threatened to deny him communion (which I think they aren't actually supposed to do for complicated reasons)--they were in a desperate bid to make people see a pro-choice Catholic as outlandish, rather than the status quo in an awful lot of parishes.
posted by hoyland at 5:44 AM on March 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was just thinking that the only thing this century was missing was an antipope.

The anitpope is a mifite.
posted by sammyo at 6:31 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


But Francis is also a man of humility who lives in a small apartment instead of the lush mansion that is his to claim as a Cardinal
So, I'm curious about this because it's something that keeps getting mentioned. They're not going to sell off the archbishop's official residence.


Funnily enough, the parents of a good friend of mine bought one of those houses.
It's just a "regular" house (a small mansion, really). Former archbishop Aramburu was living there. When he died, the property went back to the church. Bergoglio sold it pretty quickly, if i remember correctly.
posted by palbo at 6:33 AM on March 18, 2013


Anti-union?
I had read that but only from one source. Considering his other qualities it wouldn't surprise me if it's in error. Folks in a lot of circles can't tell the difference between Communism and labor organization.


A lot of unions in Argentina are notoriously corrupt and in bed with a lot of murky people/politicians, so most people are anti-those-unions without necessarily being against all unions or the concept of unions in general (e.g. CGT vs. teachers' unions, etc.)
posted by palbo at 6:41 AM on March 18, 2013


Are you sure about that? I've been to Catholic mass quite a few times; I spent 4 years at a Catholic school. I'm not sure I've ever experienced any of this.

I'm pretty sure I've never seen a catholic-led abortion or anti-gay protest. There is the occasional catholic politician that spouts off, but the church itself is pretty quiet on the issue.
I'd suggest it's almost the opposite. The institution of the Church cares very much about abortion and preventing marriage quality.


Is this a generalization of the world or just the US? I don't think this is a very big issue anywhere else. The church is firmly against it, but i don't think the move to the political realm is universal.

Argentina is a deeply catholic place and abortion and gay marriage laws passed in a single day of deliberations. I think people against it complained a bit on facebook. Life moved on. I believe it was the same thing in Uruguay, for example.

I don't actually remember hearing anything political at all about abortion/gays while i was living in Europe (albeit Northern Europe, with friends in France and the such, i.e. not Spain, Portugal and more catholic places).

This is all anecdata, but still.

A lot of places are actually good at trying to separate church and state.
posted by palbo at 7:04 AM on March 18, 2013


Is this a generalization of the world or just the US? I don't think this is a very big issue anywhere else. The church is firmly against it, but i don't think the move to the political realm is universal.

I'm definitely talking about just the US.

Though I think you're underestimating the involvement of the Church in European politics. The Church tried to throw their weight around to stop registered partnerships in Germany, though it didn't work. They're trying to stop registered partnerships from being given status equal to marriage. That probably ultimately won't work either (it's 21 votes short of a majority at the moment). See also Ruth Kelly and Tony Blair trying to carve an exemption into the Equality Act 2006 for Catholic adoption agencies.
posted by hoyland at 8:28 AM on March 18, 2013


But in the 9 or 10 years I went to mass as a child? Never mentioned. It's not universal, obviously. I mentioned in the other thread that my best friend resigned from a parish over a homily.

Note this letter from a Catholic bishop, right before last fall's elections, which he mandated all the priests in his diocese to read at mass.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:29 AM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Though I think you're underestimating the involvement of the Church in European politics.

Surely i am. But anyway, i was perhaps talking about the effects/discussion of the involvement in the day-to-day, average people, papers, etc. which, in my personal experience, was minimal, or negative (especially in comparison to the polarized, black-and-white world of US life). But i'll definitely admit to ignorance, and to the fact that a Europe vs. US discussion is rarely useful.
posted by palbo at 8:44 AM on March 18, 2013


Say what you will about Francis' history in the Dirty War, or his strong traditionalist streak, or his 15th century views on women. What's far more interesting...

More interesting for varying values of interesting. I think it's possible for the Pope's views on poverty to exacerbate divisions within the GOP and for human rights advocates to continue to work against the church's political campaigning in favor of laws that violate the rights of women and LGBT Americans.
posted by audi alteram partem at 8:50 AM on March 18, 2013


hoyland: I find it hard to take seriously an article that attempts to draw a line separating Ratzinger and Vatican II. Why? He was at Vatican II.
That's a pretty bizarre take - Ratzinger attended Vatican II, ergo he agreed 100% with its teachings and would never move one inch against them for the rest of his life?
posted by IAmBroom at 2:11 PM on March 18, 2013


gjc: For the last 35-40 years the American Catholic church has been about three things: Abortion, abortion, and anti-gay activism when it's raining and you can't protest at the abortion clinic.

Are you sure about that? I've been to Catholic mass quite a few times; I spent 4 years at a Catholic school. I'm not sure I've ever experienced any of this.

I'm pretty sure I've never seen a catholic-led abortion or anti-gay protest. There is the occasional catholic politician that spouts off, but the church itself is pretty quiet on the issue.
Wow.

Please google "Catholic abortion rights". Then google "Catholic abortion rights". Then come back here and we'll discuss the official, well-supported, and fully public position of the American Catholic Church on abortions and homosexuality. There are scads of Catholic anti-abortion and anti-gay organizations. Catholic priests and nuns have long invected against both of those "social problems."
posted by IAmBroom at 2:22 PM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


IAmBroom:

I think it's less about "Does the Catholic Church Oppose Abortion" and more "Does the Catholic Church /prioritize/ opposing abortion/ohnoes teh gays."

I would argue that it doesn't prioritize it, but that given its outsize influence, even the smallest portion of its attention can still be pretty heavy. (Like Sauron!)
posted by corb at 2:39 PM on March 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's a pretty bizarre take - Ratzinger attended Vatican II, ergo he agreed 100% with its teachings and would never move one inch against them for the rest of his life?

That's not what I meant, as the rest of my comment should have made clear. You can't be all "Ratzinger has totally subverted Vatican II" and expect me to know think you know what you're talking about unless you say "He was there as 'young liberal theologian' and then x, y and z happened." (I'll admit I'm not actually sure what x,y,z are specifically. It's something to do with the 1968 student movement in Germany, but beyond that, I'm not sure.)

Please google "Catholic abortion rights". Then google "Catholic abortion rights". Then come back here and we'll discuss the official, well-supported, and fully public position of the American Catholic Church on abortions and homosexuality. There are scads of Catholic anti-abortion and anti-gay organizations. Catholic priests and nuns have long invected against both of those "social problems."

This isn't what gjc meant either. I mean, I disagreed with their comment, but it was clear what they were talking about.

I've sat through hundreds of masses. How many mentions of abortion have I heard? Zero. Maybe, maybe one time there was a veiled reference. I remember it because it was ambiguous. How many times have a I heard a priest mention abortion not in mass? Zero. Everyone knows damn well what the Church thinks about abortion. The point is that, for a lot of Catholics, it's not on the radar. Yes, they've made the choice not to vote with their feet, but I don't think it's fair for non-Catholics to tell them that their only choice is to leave Catholicism. (Full disclosure: I left. I'm not going back until the Church changes its mind on a laundry list of issues. Then we can negotiate on the existence of God.)
posted by hoyland at 2:42 PM on March 18, 2013


(I'll admit I'm not actually sure what x,y,z are specifically. It's something to do with the 1968 student movement in Germany, but beyond that, I'm not sure.)

But since I'm not writing the damn article, the burden's not on me.
posted by hoyland at 2:43 PM on March 18, 2013


> skewed, did you follow the link back to my old K5 article?

That is actually a good article save for the probably mistaken premise we are now or any time soon going to be out of Pisces and into Aquarius. I agree with the comment by hoops on that link. Fourmilab has a free astronomical map which I have always found pretty accurate and it shows Pisces now and it isn't even close. To get close to the Aquarius boundary (the boundary is not easy to define) you have to move forward well over a hundred years, assuming the fourmilab astronomical map is accurate enough to extend for that long an interval.

I would be very interested in a sound estimate of the time we can begin our "age of Aquarius."
posted by bukvich at 4:14 PM on March 18, 2013


bukvich, you can make of this what you will (and what you will make of it is probably WTF) but astrologers have their own boundaries for the zodiacal constallations which are not the ones used by the current astronomical community. There was in fact lively debate in the late 20th century over exactly when the transition occurred, but among astrologers who do hifalutin math it is universally agreed that we are now well into Aquarius. As I understand it (and that is not very well, as I am not one of these guys) while they accept that the precession of the axes occurs, they use divisions fixed when the system was first established and not corrected since for the precession.

The very serious astrologer who explained most of this to me was quite candid that their house boundaries are almost a whole house out from what's in the sky right now. They claim that they get the best results running with what they use. (I am not endorsing this, I just sold gemstones to these people.)
posted by localroger at 6:43 PM on March 18, 2013


Is the Pope a fraud?
Is the Pope Catholic?
posted by stormpooper at 6:36 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pope's Foot-Wash a Final Straw for Traditionalist Catholics (links to Talking Points Memo).
posted by Elementary Penguin at 10:55 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can't resist feeling optimistic about the direction of this new Pope. (charlie brown/Lucy/football)
posted by msalt at 5:07 PM on April 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reform-Minded Pope Francis Vows He’ll Crack Down… on Feminist Nuns
posted by homunculus at 1:09 PM on April 16, 2013


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