Sunday, October 19, 2014

The unrealistic Paul VI

Married love particularly reveals its true nature and nobility when we realize that it takes its origin from God, who is love - Pope Paul VI

It's a real curiosity that the most liberal Pope in history finds praise (however minuscule) in traditional circles. The same traditional circles who hold him responsible for the destruction of the mass, inaction in the face of a crumbling descent into anarchy and disinterest in his own position. What they praise him for is his encyclical Humanae Vitae, the same reason that liberals spurn the man who made their version of Catholicism the dominant one. Instead, they hark back to the unfulfilled potential of Pope John XXIII, who is a blank canvas for them to attribute any number of liberal policies to. 

A news piece today on his beatification at ABC made Pope Paul VI out to be a dinosaur who stifled Church progression. Imagine! The man who gave up the Papal tiara in thrall to the world. The 'divisive' document as they call it, was an act of delusion, aggression even, against modernity.  More than 50 years later, Humanae Vitae still elicits criticism for being unrealistic given the vast majority of Catholics ignore its teaching on birth control. 

That's how they put it. By that same token, surely St. Peter was in the wrong seeing as how the Romans just ignored his teaching on Christ and went ahead and crucified him anyways? And it stands to reason to call St. Thomas Aquinas a moron for not realising that most people can't comprehend his writings anyways? As for Mother Teresa, well those Indians are still going around being poor all day long so why did she bother?

Paul VI was unrealistic. In the area of the mass, in his approach to ecumenism and in his many many mistakes in dealing with Church matters. However, I consider it him to be a tragic case. And I believe that history will consider Francis to be so too. For the liberals in the Church are wolves as Benedict XVI claimed, they have no charity nor any mercy. They see only political uses of men who have consecrated their lives to God, anyone who does not fit those ends is not only disposable but reprehensible. Nowhere in the mandate of liberal Catholicism does love of neighbour appear. They praise and deify some distant homosexual or adulterous figure who will come prancing and hallelujahing back to the Church on a whim once their sin has been sanctified, but they will never look upon their fellow Catholics who happen to favour tradition with love or fellowship. Just look at how many have wished harm on Cardinal Burke this week, they do not wish for these men to convert to their way of thinking, they merely wish for opponents to be banished. 

Two boyz

And so it is with Paul VI. They revile him for Humane Vitae, ignore all of his other works which were steeped in liberalism and have no time for him. This is the opposite of the traditional approach and the opposite of Christ's approach. Traditionalists constantly refer to Paul VI, John XXIII and Pope John Paul II and do their utmost to find elements within these men's lives that render them good examples that we all hope for the Holy Father to be. To give an example of this cynicism, look no further than Richard McBrien, Professor of Theology at Notre Dame as well as author of The Lives of the Popes, a remarkably exhaustive exercise in praising John XXIII. His foreword even refers to that Pope as the 'most beloved in history'. This from the same man who has called Pope Pius X 'cruel' and was treacherous, venomous and brazen enough to link Pope Pius XII with the Holocaust. As for Paul VI? Surely he would be enthralled to the man who brought John XIII's vision to life? And to Pope John Paul II who maintained it? Not so fast. For McBrien and other wolves, the family and not the liturgy was always the real object of their promethean coup d'etat. In a 2010 article for the bastion of human decency and humility that is the National Catholic Reporter, McBrien declared that Pope John Paul II was for conservatives the greatest Pope of all time. This accusation, which is what it was, seems strange from a man who declared John XXIII the most beloved of all time? Alas, that is how these people work. They disown anyone that they cannot use. And, as he can no longer be used, apart from in de facto beatifying the Second Vatican Council and all of its dreadful results, the liberals have no further use of Montini. I feel sorry for the lonely figure who spent much of his later life in a state of being perpetually perplexed at what had unfolded during his pontificate. Just as, I am sure, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. For all of their flaws, we should honour and love these men as best we can. Just as we will have to do someday, for if Francis offers an olive branch to the SSPX or makes some other conciliatory gesture, they will disown and revile him too.

Paul VI was unrealistic, of that the liberals are right. But it was in the application of the new mass and in his deference to a hostile clergy and to a hostile world that he misjudged reality. The expectation that those who were prone to liberal strands of thought could be trusted to say a mass with ambiguous inferences and not inject it with all manner of heresies. No wonder he travelled so much. The Hamlet cardinal, as he was known, was probably trying to buy time to delay his decisions. We'll forgive him his mistakes, even if liberal Catholics won't even forego his virtues. And his chief virtue remains this, for this they hate him so, every single word of Humanae Vitae rings true today. It should be required reading in every Catholic school the world over, maybe then we would not need to approach a near schism over confused demands from those who have made sin, self-pleasure and idolisation of the self their ultimate end. God should be our ultimate end in everything. Those inclined to revile Pope Paul VI and his works should keep that at the front of their minds.

And now, beloved sons, you who are priests, you who in virtue of your sacred office act as counselors and spiritual leaders both of individual men and women and of families—We turn to you filled with great confidence. For it is your principal duty—We are speaking especially to you who teach moral theology—to spell out clearly and completely the Church's teaching on marriage. In the performance of your ministry you must be the first to give an example of that sincere obedience, inward as well as outward, which is due to the magisterium of the Church. For, as you know, the pastors of the Church enjoy a special light of the Holy Spirit in teaching the truth. (39) And this, rather than the arguments they put forward, is why you are bound to such obedience. Nor will it escape you that if men's peace of soul and the unity of the Christian people are to be preserved, then it is of the utmost importance that in moral as well as in dogmatic theology all should obey the magisterium of the Church and should speak as with one voice. Therefore We make Our own the anxious words of the great Apostle Paul and with all Our heart We renew Our appeal to you: "I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment."

- From Humanae Vitae section 28... on Priests 

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