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Christopher A. Ferrara

popeWhat is one to think of the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (EG)? In a document of 50,000 words spanning 223 typeset pages—straining the hortatory genre beyond all reasonable limits—one would naturally expect to find a good deal of orthodox Catholicism; and that is there. Francis is, after all, the Pope, even if he doesn’t like to call himself that and refuses to add the traditional pontifical “P.P.” to his signature on this or any other document.

 

“I have the humility and ambition to want to do something.”

-Pope Francis

 

Over the past several weeks we have watched, stunned, as Pope Francis conducts little short of a public jeremiad against Catholics he deems insufficiently in tune with Vatican II’s “dynamic of reading the Gospel, actualizing its message for today”—whatever that means—which he insists is “absolutely irreversible” even as the destruction from the failed conciliar aggiornamento continues to mount.

 

The Consequences of an Off-the-Cuff Papacy

 

Let me say it at the very outset: no Pope should make it a habit to offer his spontaneous reflections to the world. This is so because the world is not the Church’s friend but rather her perennial adversary. And by “the world” I mean, of course, the powers and principalities that dominate the human scene when the grace of God is rejected. This is why Paul VI lamented, as the Second Vatican Council’s vaunted “opening to the world” had already begun to cause endless calamity, that “the opening to the world became a veritable invasion of the Church by worldly thinking. We have perhaps been too weak and imprudent.” (Speech of November 23, 1973).  Indeed, the very mission of Our Saviour was, as He Himself declared (John 16:33), to “overcome the world,” not to be “open” to it.

 

If anything characterizes this newspaper, it is the Editor’s willingness to buck the tide of public opinion, even Catholic opinion, even traditionalist Catholic opinion.

 

Over the past fifty years we have witnessed a new and surprising vernacular liturgy (concocted under the supervision of a suspected Mason who was suddenly sacked and sent off to Iran by a horrified Paul VI); a new and surprising “collegiality”; a new and surprising “ecumenism”; a new and surprising “dialogue” and “interreligious dialogue; and even a new and surprising approval of altar girls. The result has been a less than surprising collapse of faith and discipline in the Church. Yet, after a half-century of disorienting novelty in the Church, Dr. Jeff Mirus informs us that we have not had enough in the new and surprising department.  We must allow the “Holy Spirit” to move us in still more “new and surprising ways.”