Holy Father, you're a heretic.
September 24, 2017 6:01 AM   Subscribe

Several dozen tradition-minded Roman Catholic theologians, priests and academics have formally accused Pope Francis of spreading heresy with his 2016 opening to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. In a 25-page letter delivered to Francis last month and provided Saturday to The Associated Press, the 62 signatories issued a “filial correction” to the pope — a measure they said hadn’t been employed since the 14th century.

The text of the letter is available here in several languages.
posted by aqsakal (62 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hutton Gibson should be beside himself.
posted by ocschwar at 6:04 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Subsequent comments and writings have made clear he intended such wiggle room, part of his belief that God’s mercy extends in particular to sinners and that the Eucharist isn’t a prize for the perfect but nourishment for the weak.

Well, yeah, I could see how the more conservative-minded among Catholics might take issue with this, just as they so often struggle with so much of the teachings attributed to their savior...
posted by mystyk at 6:14 AM on September 24 [88 favorites]


There does seem to be some irony in people with a medieval worldview resorting to a medieval measure to complain to the pope.
posted by jenkinsEar at 6:14 AM on September 24 [25 favorites]


"Tradition-minded" sounds, at best, extremely charitably phrased.
posted by at by at 6:15 AM on September 24 [39 favorites]


Also in the 14th century, disagreeing with the church was a leading cause of death... Pretty sure since the pope is someone who can directly talk to god - these folks better be careful... while it seems out of Pope Francis's nature, this precident would seem to suggest they could be put to death.
posted by Nanukthedog at 6:19 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


Guess these "tradition minded" uncharitable arseholes want even more people to leave the Catholic Church. Only the Holier than Thou are worthy; even the Pope does not make the cut.
One of my Irish aunts killed herself in the 60s rather than divorce a severely abusive husband. Do they want more of that? Oh of course, the wages of sin! I lost my firstborn to adoption because it was unthinkable to have a bastard in a good Catholic family. He was given to married "Catholics" that included a very mentally ill mother and enabler alcoholic father. The Catholic church needs way more compassion and less legalism and clericalism. Good for Pope Francis for at least taking a step in that direction.
posted by mermayd at 6:26 AM on September 24 [109 favorites]


What are they going to do, bury him, dig him up, put his corpse on trial, find him guilty, cut off his blessing fingers, bury him again, dig him up again, and throw him into the Tiber River?
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:28 AM on September 24 [42 favorites]


I hope that Francis gives their entreaty all the deference and solemnity that it deserves.

Which is to ignore it completely.
posted by delfin at 6:33 AM on September 24 [13 favorites]


I cannot help but think that Pope Francis is going to just give them a smile, a nod, and a "your opinion is noted" in public, and then in private call them all in for a come-to-Papa talk.

"Beware the Nice Ones" is always good advice. He's a Jesuit, which means his grasp of Scripture is going to be excellent and, uh, he was a nightclub bouncer, so I would put him up against a lot of these guys in a fight if it comes to that.
posted by mephron at 6:36 AM on September 24 [82 favorites]


I like this Pope. A lot. He’s the kind of person Catholicism needs more of, if they wish to stay relevant. But the sad truth is when he’s done the conservative groups within the Church will probably fight tooth and nail to replace him with someone more like the previous Pope.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:40 AM on September 24 [29 favorites]


This made me curious to know why the filial correction was used on Pope John XXII. Wikipedia says:
Pope John XXII was involved in a theological controversy concerning the beatific vision. Even before he was pope, John XXII argued that those who died in the faith did not see the presence of God until the Last Judgment. He continued this argument for a time in sermons while he was pope, although he never taught it in official documents. He eventually backed down from his position, and agreed that those who died in grace do indeed immediately enjoy the beatific vision.
I wouldn't be surprised if John XXII's position was sounder Biblically, but wasn't a great sell. You want to be able to tell your parishioners that they'll see the wondrous face of God the instant they die, so long as they're good. You don't want to have to tell them that there's an indefinite waiting period, like some Soviet citizen on the list for a Lada.
posted by clawsoon at 6:47 AM on September 24 [22 favorites]


delfin: I hope that Francis gives their entreaty all the deference and solemnity that it deserves.

"I am in the smallest room in my house. Your note is in front of me; soon it will be behind me."
posted by wenestvedt at 6:49 AM on September 24 [46 favorites]


" then in private call them all in for a come-to-Papa talk"

They don't rate it. None of the English speakers are heavy hitters or important; these are third-rate theological faculties and nowhere dioceses. A few of the Italian and Portuguese folks are at better places, but not the "best" places.

Tellingly, they all list all their credentials, no matter how irrelevant. Which is the sort of "appeal to authority" conservative Catholics love, but is amusing and ironic when they're rebuking the Pope by showing their Awesome Degrees in Unrelated Topics but Letters After My Name Make Me Seem Authoritative.

I wanted to read the document and offer a theological analysis but I got two paragraphs in and realized I was completely out of evens for this kind of fuckery this week. Same old shit. Maybe later.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:07 AM on September 24 [86 favorites]


Defend the Holy Father! Burn the deviants!
posted by Segundus at 7:26 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


Any overlap between these guys and SSPX?
posted by ocschwar at 7:28 AM on September 24


Any overlap between these guys and SSPX?

Answered in the 6th text block of TFA.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:53 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


OMG, there are catholic jihadis, people, and they're NOT the IRA! This will really play well down the pub on Friday night when the cap is passed for 'the cause'!!
posted by Wilder at 8:08 AM on September 24


Man, that infallibility thing suddenly sucks when it's not on your side, doesn't it?
posted by Lyn Never at 8:14 AM on September 24 [10 favorites]


Nobody hates love like conservative religious folks.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:20 AM on September 24 [43 favorites]


Pope Francis: [One long derail deleted.]
posted by runcifex at 8:23 AM on September 24 [7 favorites]


But the sad truth is when he’s done the conservative groups within the Church will probably fight tooth and nail to replace him with someone more like the previous Pope.
Hmm. Where have we recently seen similar behavior patterns?
posted by JohnFromGR at 8:33 AM on September 24 [11 favorites]


Man, I'm two pages in and I am aghast. This isn't just a correction, this is disrespectful as fuck while mouthing obedience.
posted by corb at 8:37 AM on September 24 [11 favorites]


I'd like see to Pope Francis excommunicate everybody who signed this and then thump his chest, yelling "Who's infallible now, bitch?"
posted by jonp72 at 8:52 AM on September 24 [23 favorites]


RE: The infallibility comments:

I'm not any sort of expert on Catholic theology(although I've paid some attention as a Lutheran exile), but I am pretty sure that the "Joy of Love," the document that sparked this outrage, was not issued ex cathedra (ie. the Pope speaking explicitly as the head of the Church), and it's more a set of thoughts and guidelines on how the Church might proceed on issues of families in the 21st C, rather than a specific set of rulings that are required to be followed. Both of these things (and a couple of others, if I remember correctly) must be present for a pronouncement on doctrine to be considered "infallible." Actually, I'm not even sure that the "Joy of Love" defines any doctrines at all rather than providing suggestions for interpretation and guidance, but I haven't read the whole thing (it's a couple of hundred pages long). The document doesn't begin or end with the kind of language I would expect to see from an infallible pronouncement.

Additionally, while the arch-conservatives of the Church are outraged, it's not like the "Joy of Love" is a hugely progressive document for the 20th C, limiting itself to a very narrow definition of marriage and making it clear that same-sex couples and trans people are still on the outside. Previously.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:08 AM on September 24 [10 favorites]


Some quotes from this:
Most Holy Father, the Petrine ministry has not been entrusted to you that you might impose strange doctrines on the faithful, but so that you may, as a faithful steward, guard the deposit against the day of the Lord’s return...

Those Catholics, however, who do not clearly grasp the limits of papal infallibility are liable to be led by the words and actions of Your Holiness into one of two disastrous errors: either they will come to embrace the heresies which are now being propagated, or, aware that these doctrines are contrary to the word of God, they will doubt or deny the prerogatives of the popes...
posted by corb at 9:15 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


Some quotes from this:

I've been reading the letter (and it's kind of dire, and I should be grading) a little, and I can't tell if they are accusing Pope Francis of misusing infallibility or warning him not to take it any further. I get the sense that it's a very hair-splitty sort of approach, which I guess would be necessary if you are calling out the Pope.

I'm a little startled that they accuse him of adopting Salvation by Grace (and practically of being a crypto-Lutheran). I would imagine there would be a lot more uproar if he had actually done that.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:33 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


"the sad truth is when he’s done the conservative groups within the Church will probably fight tooth and nail to replace him with someone more like the previous Pope."


Two points:
First Pope Benedict XVI wrote an encyclical calling for market reforms and an emphasis on justice and morals in capitalism. So, he (like any Pope) is not some simple American-right-wing hobgoblin. Additionally, the man voluntarily stepped down from a position of significant power and authority for the good of the Church and the world because he felt he could no longer to the job. That merits a good deal of respect. More humility along those lines in future Popes would be great.

Second, as of right now just over 40% of the Cardinals able to participate in a Papal Conclave were appointed by Pope Francis. So, even if we should have to elect a new Pope very soon, it will not be easy for a hold-over conservative bloc to appoint someone that is very regressive. If Pope Francis sticks around for a while longer his appointments may very well come to dominate the conclave. (Of course, the Cardinals appointed by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI were the ones that elected Pope Francis. So, it's not like they are clearly in the tank for Catholic conservatism.)
posted by oddman at 9:37 AM on September 24 [24 favorites]


Holy cow, so it's more like "Bishop" Bernard Fellay because not only was his consecration not approved by Rome, it caused his and his archbishop's excommunication from the church by JPII, nobody's idea of a liberal pontiff. (The excommunication was later lifted by Benedict.)

This asshole is playing bishop dress up like Sheriff Clarke and his medals.

Which makes this letter an even more galling act of chutzpah.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:03 AM on September 24 [29 favorites]


and, uh, he was a nightclub bouncer, so I would put him up against a lot of these guys in a fight if it comes to that.

aren't they all ex-bouncers? I thought that was pre-requisite for a position in the Vatican these days. The definition of a tough crowd.
posted by philip-random at 10:06 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


This asshole is playing bishop dress up like Sheriff Clarke and his medals.

Instead of pins from the Israeli Traffic Police Academy, he has embroidered gloves for all occasions.
posted by Copronymus at 10:07 AM on September 24 [3 favorites]


Wouldn't surprise me at all if Pope Francis waved his hands and said la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you. He knows which side of history he's on and it seems like he gives absolutely no fucks at all about stirring up the codgers. His 2016 Christmas letter to the Curia proves that.
posted by chavenet at 10:18 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


I have to say I'm not entirely sure why a handful of despised cranks -- fewer people than suited up for Notre Dame yesterday -- throwing a stupid fit is being treated like a major blow to the Vatican. The Society of St. Pius X represents maybe a couple thousand people worldwide, assuming they aren't juicing their numbers, and its cohort are, as far as I can tell, by far the most noteworthy people to have signed the letter. I don't really see the Papal bureaucracy being that worried that some deacons and retired historians have Some Thoughts They'd Like to See Addressed.
posted by Copronymus at 10:21 AM on September 24 [9 favorites]


some things i think i think

a) i think the liberal left tends to underrate how much of a discplinarian Francis is, and by extension how much of this is about corruption in the vatican itself. in this case, the weird collection of singners (only one from central africa, no one from the phillipines) might be a bit of a trial balloon for some of the more conserative members to express displeasure. like the recent fight about the knights of malta, (and notice the couple of maltese signers) a proxy way about how the vatican should funciton--esp vis a vis the recent hospital charity scandal. the question of who is an insider and who is an outsider is a much more option question of late.
b) by extension i dont know if they are wrong. if we are talking about this not in terms of divorice, but in terms of questions of forgiveness and grace, Francis is not as tight, well read or well considered as Benedict. Like Ranke-Heineman, no matter how much I disagree w/ Benedict, he was one of the most brilliant theological thinkers who has ever become pope. I think he was also a kind of fantastic politican. Evil, Nixonian, but didn't tend to get caught (I still wonder about the scandals that lead to his resigning.) Francis is not as rigourous a theologian, and not as deep a thinker. I think that in trying to save the church for the west, and trying not to isolate conserative thinkers, i think that Francis' view of grace became very close to being protestant. I think for people for whom these things matter, a Lutheran pope is an anathema--even a pope who takes Luther as theologian seriuosly is playing pretty close to hersey.
c) That said this document is a complete mess, and not very well argued, considered, or well thought out. I wonder what a good argument against Francis' view of grace would look like.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:09 AM on September 24 [13 favorites]


So, all the Catholic DIVORCE UNFORGIVABLE stuff has pretty much originated within the Church itself, right, as opposed to originating in the Bible?

(I mean, there's some crazy marriage rules in the Bible -- see the all-too-often-misinterpreted-even-though-it's-totally-obvious-that-it's-about-honoring-a-particular-aspect-of-the-Tradition!-of-marriage-and-inheritance-and-nothing-else-oh-and-by-the-way-nearly-every-Judeo-Christian-denomination-has-long-since-abandoned-said-traditions-because-they-were-effed-up-for-the-exact-reasons-cited-by-the-"villain"-of-the-story-so-it's-essentially-moot story of Onan, for one example -- but I don't recall anything about divorce being a ticket to Hell, and suspect it was a Counter Reformation thing? But maybe I have my lapsed-Protestant blinders on.)
posted by Sys Rq at 11:23 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Cut to a bunch of sedevacantists sipping their PSLs and murmuring, "I hated the pope before it was cool."
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:28 AM on September 24 [7 favorites]


One of the few reasons I'm glad the comic strip still exists as a medium is Francis, drawn by an American Catholic and featuring a delightfully fictionalized version of the Pope and his comically naive closest aide Brother Leo (who has now recruited a Muslim woman as his assistant - happy heresy!).
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:30 AM on September 24 [4 favorites]


There does seem to be some irony in people with a medieval worldview resorting to a medieval measure to complain to the pope.
--jenkinsEar


I thought an unsurprising result or expectation was the farthest thing from irony. At any rate, Pope Francis' embrace of modernity (of greater inclusivity) has been such a dramatic turn from his predecessors that I was of the opinion his nomination and election signaled the Church's last-minute comprehension of an imminent irrelevancy had its path remained conservative.

I don't believe in my lifetime had headlines about the Church been anything other than distressful and Pope Francis' vibe is so happy-- more Christ-like than many protestant leaders I had personally known and certainly more so than any prominent evangelical.

I'm not an adherent to any faith, per say, but I was happy for so many people of faith being so goddamned happy again. The objection about divorce seems, to me, an unsurprising and uncreative hark. Which is fine. I came to appreciate Catholic literature through Flannery O'Connor and debate is a large part of its tradition.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 11:37 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Help me out here; wasn't the 14th century the time when there were two popes and a schism and all that stuff when absolutely everyone was excommunicated by the pope they didn't follow?
Any relation to this?
posted by Alter Cocker at 11:46 AM on September 24 [1 favorite]


Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Fuck you, reactionaries.
posted by duffell at 11:47 AM on September 24 [2 favorites]


I think as an outsider to Catholicism I tend not to recognize that there are very human politics behind the scenes of what's discussed in non-religious circles. Without context, a lot of the above commentary resembles modern politics.

I am not at all familiar with this group or their goals. From a generic social perspective, I totally disapprove of the route they're taking to gain attention here. It doesn't promote discussion and reasoned consideration of their views.

As a first step towards secession, there are better ways. They could have written public entreaties every week for a year discussing why they think they're right and the pope is wrong in formal and correct language. Instead, it appears they're invoking an ancient rule to coerce the Pope into a no-win scenario that gives them artificial "cause" to secede.

I would have liked to hear their viewpoint without it being written on a gauntlet.
posted by crysflame at 12:22 PM on September 24 [1 favorite]


[Couple comments removed; let's maybe leave US presidential politics out of threads that aren't specifically about them when we can.]
posted by cortex at 12:45 PM on September 24 [7 favorites]


As someone who as an infant some decades ago was called a bastard by my local uber-conservative Irish priest, I hereby play my bastard card: fuck these ignorant guys in the ear.
posted by zippy at 12:45 PM on September 24 [12 favorites]


You want to be able to tell your parishioners that they'll see the wondrous face of God the instant they die, so long as they're good.

Yes, but you want to make sure they are fully dead first. You don't want people coming back from near-death experiences with messages from God about how to reform the Church.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:49 PM on September 24 [3 favorites]


So, all the Catholic DIVORCE UNFORGIVABLE stuff has pretty much originated within the Church itself, right, as opposed to originating in the Bible?

I wouldn't really say so no. Jesus teaches that if you divorce for any reason other than adultery and remarry, you commit adultery. This shows up a few times in the Gospels. I'm not Catholic and my church is much more supportive of remarried people, but it's originating in the Bible.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:51 PM on September 24 [5 favorites]


I met the Pastor of our local Catholic Church in a rather charitable way. A Verizon store had done a major renovation, and there was a lot of good furnishings and electronics being scavenged from what they put out on the street at 2 AM.

People were getting a little agro about who gets what, but this one guy and I started sharing tools and splitting things evenly. Turns out it was the local Pastor furnishing his new rectory. We met several times after that and discussed theology.

Maybe this would get him in trouble so I won't say which Parish, but it's a pretty major one in downtown NYC. He said to me, concerning my admitted lack of faith in the central teachings, "Well there is one thing we know for sure about the laws and rules of the Church itself. They are created by man, and man is flawed, so it is a certainty that any doctrines created by the Church will be wrong in some sense."
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:04 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


So, all the Catholic DIVORCE UNFORGIVABLE stuff has pretty much originated within the Church itself, right, as opposed to originating in the Bible?

Honestly, the Church itself has, at least on paper, been at least somewhat reasonable about annulments. Annulments where the other person was concealing something egregious from the start or never intended to honor their vows, annulments where people got married quickly without going through the church process, etc.

The problem is you have to do paperwork that goes up pretty high and originates at your parish church, and parish churches are notorious for not submitting your paperwork unless they think you're sincere. And church attendance where you're the only one not taking communion really sucks, and you can't confess your sins unless you're ready to confess and repent for the mortal sin of adultery, and it just adds up to this thing where it's hard to prove your sincerity unless you've stayed with the church you were baptized in.
posted by corb at 1:16 PM on September 24 [9 favorites]


Zippy, you are one beautiful bastard! So is my oldest son, now a wonderful man and environmental activist. Also, an agnostic like the kids I raised, despite Catholic upbringing. Fine with me because they are all compassionate, honest, ethical men.

Sticky carpet, the priest you met sounds like the one in my parish who became a priest in the 60s. now retired. I remember him thinking the spirit of Vatican Two was dead when the old Pope was still in power.

All the young priests now in this area are from Poland and the South and Central American countries, and they tend to be country boys who are very conservative. Free immigration to American and a free education and guaranteed job are a good incentive to one of ten kids living in poverty, as they used to be for Irish and European boys. Our conservative and arrogant Bishop has a program where he brings them in, and brags that his diocese turns out the most priests in the country, leaving out the fact that they are all from elsewhere.

The few young American-born priests are even more conservative verging on the lunatic fringe, with few exceptions.
posted by mermayd at 1:24 PM on September 24 [8 favorites]


I think the Pope's encyclical speaks for itself
posted by OverlappingElvis at 1:48 PM on September 24


the Pope's encyclical speaks for itself

Yeah, right? Encyclicals are supposed to be infallible. I never heard anything about an appeal process.
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:56 PM on September 24


Honestly, the Church itself has, at least on paper, been at least somewhat reasonable about annulments. Annulments where the other person was concealing something egregious from the start or never intended to honor their vows, annulments where people got married quickly without going through the church process, etc.

The problem is you have to do paperwork that goes up pretty high and originates at your parish church, and parish churches are notorious for not submitting your paperwork unless they think you're sincere.


Pretty much this. I know a devout Catholic friend of the family who divorced her physically and emotionally abusive, cheating, POS husband (after staying in the marriage for years in part due to guilt over straying from Catholic teaching). An annulment was not granted, and her priest has refused to allow her to enter into the sacrament of the Eucharist--telling her that her soul is in a state of mortal sin (i.e. she's going to Hell) because she has found someone new and started a new relationship.

There are a lot--a LOT--of garbage priests out there, and they have a lot of power.
posted by duffell at 2:18 PM on September 24 [21 favorites]


Jesus teaches that if you divorce for any reason other than adultery and remarry, you commit adultery. This shows up a few times in the Gospels. I'm not Catholic and my church is much more supportive of remarried people, but it's originating in the Bible.
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."
Jesus in Matthew 5:31-32

I think it's true that Jesus expected marriage to generally be a lifetime covenant, but one thing that is hard for modern people to realize is what a difficult position divorced women were in. Without the ability to own property or hold most legitimate jobs, women needed a man to simply survive. A divorced woman, unless taken in by a brother or a still-living father, was in a very vulnerable position. The likely reason for the weird phrasing here "makes her commit adultery" (it's more like "adulterer-izes her" in Greek, if I remember my NT seminars correctly), is that a divorced woman was very likely to wind up as someone's mistress or as a prostitute, out of necessity. (This is why caring for widows is a common Bible theme--they are in a similar position) I think it's hard to put a percentage on how much of Jesus' concern is looking after vulnerable women versus a high view of the marriage covenant, but it's definitely part of the picture.

So, of course, the terrible result of reading this and similar passages too conservatively is that there are women in fundamentalist traditions (or conservative Catholic ones) who could make it just fine on their own, but wind up staying for decades with cruel or violent men because of the teaching of their pastors or priests. So, in a reversal of Jesus' concern, churches force women who could have happy, fulfilling lives by themselves to instead be perpetually vulnerable.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:50 PM on September 24 [60 favorites]


Pope Benedict XVI wrote an encyclical calling for market reforms and an emphasis on justice and morals in capitalism. So, he (like any Pope) is not some simple American-right-wing hobgoblin. Additionally, the man voluntarily stepped down from a position of significant power and authority for the good of the Church and the world because he felt he could no longer to the job. That merits a good deal of respect.

Oh FUCK that. Ratzinger doesn't merit shit.
"...I would say that this problem of AIDS cannot be overcome merely with money, necessary though it is. If there is no human dimension, if Africans do not help, the problem cannot be overcome by the distribution of prophylactics: on the contrary, they increase it."

"...he again approved CDF documents declaring that homosexual "inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder" and extended this principle to civil law. "Sexual orientation", the document said, was not equivalent to race or ethnicity, and it declared that it was "not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account."

"...Ratzinger issued a confidential letter to every bishop. In it, he reminded them of the extreme gravity of a certain crime. But that crime was the reporting of the rape and torture. The accusations, intoned Ratzinger, were only treatable within the church's own exclusive jurisdiction. Any sharing of the evidence with legal authorities or the press was utterly forbidden. Charges were to be investigated "in the most secretive way ... restrained by a perpetual silence ... and everyone ... is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office … under the penalty of excommunication."

Cardinal Ratzinger's official responsibility to determine the church's response to allegations of child sex abuse, and his letter in the Kiesle case makes the real motivation devastatingly explicit. Here are his actual words, translated from the Latin in the AP report:

"This court, although it regards the arguments presented in favour of removal in this case to be of grave significance, nevertheless deems it necessary to consider the good of the universal church together with that of the petitioner, and it is also unable to make light of the detriment that granting the dispensation can provoke with the community of Christ's faithful, particularly regarding the young age of the petitioner."

"The young age of the petitioner" refers to Kiesle, then aged 38, not the age of any of the boys he tied up and raped (11 and 13). It is completely clear that, together with a nod to the welfare of the "young" priest, Ratzinger's primary concern, and the reason he refused to unfrock Kiesle (who went on to re-offend) was "the good of the universal church".

And while I know so many love to swoon over Francis, he's only "good" by comparison to Ratzinger. He believes some of the same incredibly fucked up shit too.

Comparing trans people to nukes:
"Let's think of the nuclear arms, of the possibility to annihilate in a few instants a very high number of human beings," he was quoted as saying. "Let's think also of genetic manipulation, of the manipulation of life, or of the gender theory, that does not recognise the order of creation."
Victim blaming the murdered Hebdo writers a week after they were killed:
He staunchly defended freedom of expression, but then he said there were limits, especially when people mocked religion.
"If my good friend Doctor Gasparri [who organises the Pope's trips] speaks badly of my mother, he can expect to get punched," he said, throwing a pretend punch at the doctor, who was standing beside him.
"You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others. There is a limit."
Again shitting on trans people:
“The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father and our common home, whereas thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation,” the pope writes. He calls for “valuing one’s own body in its femininity or masculinity,” saying, “It is not a healthy attitude which would seek to cancel out sexual difference.”
And on how same-sex marriage is literally a plot by Satan:
In July 2010, while the law was under consideration, he wrote a letter to Argentina's cloistered nuns in which he said the Argentine nuclear family could be seriously harmed. He thought that children would face discrimination and lose the development that a father and mother give.

"Let's not be naïve: This is not a simple political fight; it is a destructive proposal to God's plan. This is not a mere legislative proposal (that's just its form), but a move by the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God ... Let's look to St. Joseph, Mary, and the Child to ask fervently that they defend the Argentine family in this moment... May they support, defend, and accompany us in this war of God."
This is all neither here nor there with regards to this specific letter to the current Pope, but I can't see a claim that Ratzinger deserves a great deal of respect posted on the blue and not offer some pushback against that.

Francis is progress. That's great. One day, the Catholic Church might make it all the way into the 20th century.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:57 PM on September 24 [39 favorites]


So, of course, the terrible result of reading this and similar passages too conservatively is that there are women in fundamentalist traditions

Oh yeah, it's hard to be nuanced on a phone with a sleeping toddler on my chest, but I definitely agree that the way the Catholic Church reads these passages tend to be wrong (I'm not Catholic after all), especially when that reading is applied without much mercy (which is, by my lights, a wrong way to read any part of the Gospel).
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:17 PM on September 24 [6 favorites]


I still haven't really dug deep into this but a friend of mine who's a Catholic theologian working in Rome noted dryly that the Italian papers are covering this with much more accurate headlines: "Banker Ettore Tedeschi and 61 other people accuse the pope of heresy..."

(Basically he's pissed he got fired for negligence and can no longer launder money through the Vatican Bank, and found 61 useful idiots to sign his letter.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:58 PM on September 24 [16 favorites]


"I still haven't really dug deep into this but a friend of mine who's a Catholic theologian working in Rome noted dryly that the Italian papers are covering this with much more accurate headlines: "Banker Ettore Tedeschi and 61 other people accuse the pope of heresy..."

(Basically he's pissed he got fired for negligence and can no longer launder money through the Vatican Bank, and found 61 useful idiots to sign his letter.)
"

I saw this elsewhere first — CBS maybe? — but am on my phone so don't want to wade through the news app to find it.

Their coverage was more extensive, and even more dissonant from their headline of Catholic Clergy Accuse Pope of Heresy. About two-thirds of the quotes were context ones, including some American conservative Catholic religion writer saying, paraphrased, 'There are 50 some cardinals, and over 300 bishops — that they couldn't find a single one to sign shows how seriously the Church will take this.' He also said that it's not really about Francis — many of the same people had the same problems with the 'last few popes.' They had another head of some Catholic service organization saying that though they themselves disagreed with some of what they diplomatically glossed as the interpretation of Francis's restatements of doctrine, that this letter was from a group so fringe that not even fringe Catholics would take them seriously. They were like, the Pope has better things to do than read this, let alone respond in any way to it.

I was a little annoyed to be clickbaited by the headline, but the article made it seem like the signatories held a position of influence in the Church somewhere between Avignon and Otherkin.
posted by klangklangston at 2:46 AM on September 25 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, the Vatican has blocked its in-house computers from accessing the dissidents' site.
posted by aqsakal at 5:58 AM on September 25 [1 favorite]


404 Rage not found
posted by Devonian at 8:15 AM on September 25 [3 favorites]


Actually the story that Vatican computers can't access it is not true. Some can, some can't, and it's the contractors' policy which determines this. Some journalist just tweeted that he had seen the site accessed from a vatican computer, but I am trying to work and have closed the tweetdeck window.
posted by alloneword at 8:25 AM on September 25


A divorced woman, unless taken in by a brother or a still-living father, was in a very vulnerable position. The likely reason for the weird phrasing here "makes her commit adultery" (it's more like "adulterer-izes her" in Greek, if I remember my NT seminars correctly), is that a divorced woman was very likely to wind up as someone's mistress or as a prostitute, out of necessity.

I read a commentary last year-ish that said Jesus was also speaking about a specific issue of the time where many popular religious leaders were suggesting that men should "punish" their wives by divorcing them for such egregious sins as

-disagreeing with husbands about anything
-not being as hot as they used to be
-getting old in general
-being infertile

It was (IIRC) this semi-popular and psudo-religious MRA movement where women who didn't live up to a husband's impossible standards were discarded as a form of punishment and public humiliation. So when Jesus spoke about divorce in that context, he was essentially saying that women are human beings and should be treated as such, which pissed a LOT of people off.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 10:05 AM on September 25 [6 favorites]


StickyCarpet: "Yeah, right? Encyclicals are supposed to be infallible."

They're not. "Infallibility" is strictly limited. Encyclicals are church doctrine, but that's not the same thing as saying they are literally the word of God.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:26 AM on September 25 [6 favorites]


Also, "Joy of Love" wasn't even an encyclical, but a lesser papal communication.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:35 PM on September 25


I know three couples of my parents' generation who stayed married after the husband realized he was gay because they hadn't been able to obtain a church annulment.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:39 PM on September 25


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