Our anti-ultramontanist quote of the week

15 09 2010

Stolen from here:

“By the way, will you give a message from me to the Roman Ordinary? Tell him to look after his own diocese and not to write any more Encyclicals. Also, that there were twelve apostles and that all bishops are their successors. Also, to read the works of St. Paul, also to open his front door and walk out, also that the faith handed to our father is more important than either the Sacred Heart or certain alleged happenings at Lourdes.”

Adrian Fortescue DD, letter, 18/06/1920

Of course, I am conflicted about this quote. On the one hand, I don’t like his distaste for the miraculous and popular religion (i.e. the Sacred Heart and Lourdes). On the other hand, I do think the Pope should “mind his own business” so to speak. I don’t see why the Pope can’t just be some Italian guy who we think is the successor of St. Peter, all the while paying very little attention to him.

I was pleasantly surprised to find such a sympathetic quote from such an unlikely place.


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24 responses

20 11 2010
FrGregACCA

“By the way, I am not a fascist! In fact, young Catholics like me tend to be more anti-statist/anarchists.”

The problem is, anarchy paves the way for fascism. Just look at Germany and Russia.

20 11 2010
Brian

I would not be so gloomy.

Take my case, for instance. I am 21, and when I entered the university several years ago, I was influenced by the secular culture that seems to thrive on college campuses. Were it not, ironically, for Richard Dawkins and “new” atheism, I would not have explored my faith more deeply and would have gradually become more “Pentecostal.” I probably would have fallen out of religion altogether. Of course, Dawkins never had a chance. To borrow your line, I am a better atheist than he is, and I am a devout Catholic!

Now, I fail miserably each and every day to live up to the orthodoxy to which I aspire, but at least it’s a goal that I never had before. I’ve shared my new-found knowledge and experience with my three other siblings, and they’ve all experienced a rekindling of Catholicism. We all plan on getting involved at our parish in some way to help the promotion of authentic Catholicism, especially among our fellow Latinos. So there, that’s pretty significant, right? I can’t be the only one out there with this experience – I am constantly hearing of conversions and renewed commitments to the Church.

By the way, I am not a fascist! In fact, young Catholics like me tend to be more anti-statist/anarchists.

23 09 2010
Sam Urfer

See also, Savonarola.

23 09 2010
Matt +

But his personal feelings about how crazy or misguided the Pope might be doesn’t seem to have had an effect on his obedience. You see this in the armed forces all the time; enlisted men who think the officers are crazy or incompetent, and yet they follow orders, because they respect the office and the discipline of the service.

I think it’s certainly possible to have no respect for the Pope as an individual person, but to obey out of respect for the office he holds. And God knows there have been Popes who would have been very difficult to respect on a personal level–see Alexander VI for a safe example.

19 09 2010
john burnett

“Adrian Fortescue says that intolerance of all other customs with the wish to make the whole Christian world conform to its own local practices has always been and still is a characteristic note of the Byzantine Church or Eastern Orthodox church” (wikipedia). Obviously the guy had been strongly influenced by his interest in Orthodoxy, but he understood well enough where the real problem lay. Same in east as well as west, isn’t it?

16 09 2010
vinny

You give people to much credit. I am personally very fond of the concept of a pope. In fact that is the essential reason I am Catholic. Otherwise I would go to Orthodoxy. Nice music, beautiful church and all that. Someone should be in charge even if no one listens to him and even if he fucks the whole thing up from time to time. Its the nature of things. Someone always has to be in charge. Only Libertarians and idiots think it could ever be otherwise.

16 09 2010
Dauvit Balfour

Ha! I heard my friend saying the other day that she’s not used to having Tuesdays off work. She wakes up at 6, takes her temperature (she’s engaged), and then realizes she can go back to sleep. I couldn’t help cringing a little and thinking that, yeah, I really don’t care. It’s just name dropping of a different sort.

16 09 2010
Leah

Unless I experienced some kind of lost time phenomenon, I (Leah) was the one who wrote the post referencing Pope Nicholas I and pants, not AG (wife of AV). Are all of the people of color going together even on the Internet?

16 09 2010
Michael

“Cross and thermometer”
LOL
You are funny Arturo

16 09 2010
Arturo Vasquez

Perhaps that is why I think that “Pentecostal-style” religion is the wave of the future: ecstatic worship, local control, little doctrine. Except for some tightly wound, crypto-fascist Catholics obsessed with fertility issues (replace “Cross and Crown” with “Cross and thermometer”). Like I said, if those are the only two options in the cafeteria, I’ll just order a rum and Coke and wait ’til the bitter end.

16 09 2010
dominic

While I’m not wholly unfriendly to a certain anti-ultramontanism, what exactly are we going to do if we are going to have the Pope/Rome play less of a role in shaping Catholicism? Are we going to leave it up to the bishops? They’re often nuts, same with the priests. The people? They are often ignorant of even the basics of the Faith, let alone anything higher. The Faith (at least in this country) is often reduced to mere sentimentalism and maybe a love-hate relationship with people who’ve wholly embraced the World yet can’t completely break the cultural ties.

We are in a hurting state, no doubt. However, the days when a certain “healthy” Gallicanism could be practiced is long gone.

15 09 2010
Michael

More on topic. I am not sure you are correct that most people did not know who the Pope was when the citizens of Rome carried the dead body of one Pope through the street and some Popes were more popular than others (popular as in the people not just the wealthy or educated) and plenty of common folk made a pilgrimage to Rome.

NOW, this is not the same as reading an encylical in your native tongue on the Vatican website–but times have changed.

I have read all your posts.

Sir Thomas More would of probably joined Tolkien and Agathie Christie in either responding in Latin to the “new” Mass or gone to the Indult but I don’t think Sir Thomas would of ever broke with Rome. The point on Cranmer is he did not have the authority to do so–the Pope and the Council do.

” It is no wonder that JPII, who ruled the Church purely on charisma, would continue to be charismatic even after his death.” I do like your quote.

Even AG is using 9th Century Papal statements to defend the use of pants.
So Peter has spoken on pants vs skirts and you can wear either and wearing pants does not affect salvation–that is good to know or a lot of woman would be going to the wrong place.

15 09 2010
Michael

http://www.suntimes.com/news/24-7/2710604,CST-NWS-saint15.article

off topic again, although not Papal approved nor any Nihil Obstat or Imprimatur:

Jesus Malverde is turning on his supplicants in the Chicago Sun Times article posted above. Jesus Malverde is actually turning in drug dealers and helping the cops.

Selana
ora pro nobis
y Viva Mexico (it is Hispanic heritage month after all and Mexican Independence or Revolution Day or something like that)

15 09 2010
dcs

It’s worth pointing out that Fr. Fortescue would never have written what he wrote above for public consumption. In his books he is ultramontane (by today’s standards at least).

15 09 2010
dcs

I don’t think the point is that one knows who the Pope is. It is loyalty to the office that counts, not loyalty to the man who holds it.

15 09 2010
dcs

It can be found in The Early Papacy by Fr. Fortescue and edited by Scott M.P. Reid.

15 09 2010
Ector de Maris

Sometimes it seems in practice that all we moderns are left with is the Pope, who acts not as guardian of tradition, but as the fount of tradition. Have things always been this confusing?

15 09 2010
Rubricarius

Brian M,

Have given the all too brief detials on Liturgiae Causa. If you can find copies of ‘Adrian’ pls reserve one for me.

15 09 2010
brian m

Can you cite a source for this? It’s fantastic.

15 09 2010
Arturo Vasquez

…but people that you like in Mexico and the Phillipines that cross themselves and pray to dead relatives and practice folk Catholicism that keep an image of the Pope in their homes and pray to Pope John Paul II as a saint (in addition to Santa Muerte, Jesus Malverde, Santa Barbara (Chongo), or crucify themselves in the Phillipines)

Yes, I know. I have seen statues of John Paul II in botanicas and even in a Voodoo temple. That is not being disputed. In the last two hundred years, such “folk canonizations” have about the same spiritual currency as the popular sainthoods of Carlos Gardel or Selena. They are manufactured by the media, and insofar as they tap into some vein of supernatural power, they continue to spread. I am sure Oscar Romero has the same cultus in El Salvador. It is no wonder that JPII, who ruled the Church purely on charisma, would continue to be charismatic even after his death.

As for the other arguments, no one but the most educated person prior to the French Revolution would even know who the Pope was, so you are mixing apples and oranges in your argument. The real crux of the argument is whether the Pope should continue to play such a huge role in determining the shape of Catholicism. I would refer you to other posts on this blog describing the bizarre effects of the absolutist papacy on the Church in the last couple of centuries. In a nutshell, it has reduced truth to the exercise of ecclesial power, something that even the saints mentioned could not even imagine happening. I doubt, for example, that Thomas More would ever think that the Pope would throw out the entire text of the Mass and replace it with another. After all, isn’t that what Cranmer and the other reformers wanted to do?

15 09 2010
Arturo Vasquez

Agreed. They need to start praying to St. Jude.

15 09 2010
Rubricarius

A good quote of Dr. Fortescue but not his best, that has to be describing Pius X as “an Italian lunatic”.

15 09 2010
Michael

More on point on your post. You have posted in the past how the Pope is not important to people and that saints of the past didn’t pay the Pope any mind.
You are not a fan of Pope John Paul II and certainly not of his “Theology of the Body”. You have posted other comments that are negative of the Papacy. You certainly don’t believe that the role of the Pope is the same as EWTN or Catholic “conservatives” perceive it.

However, the idea that Catholics do not really pay attention to the Pope is contrary to history. Ukrainian Catholic saint Josaphat died because he was loyal to Rome even if every other aspect of his Faith was the same as his brother Orthodox. The same is true for other Ukrainian Catholics who have a mark of distinction as being in unity with the Pope. The same is true in China with Cardinal Kung. The same is true in Vietnam with the late saintly Cardinal Nguyen Văn Thun. Even in the Mexico of your ancestors the Revolutionary Government tried to make an independent National Mexican Catholic Church using “Greek” Orthodox orders and tried to start (but failed miserably) a competing organization to the Knights of Columbus. So from the Ukraine to China to Vietnam–loyalty to the See of Peter has brought persecution and even martyrdom that could of been easily ignored by merely ignoring the Pope.

In the history of the Church many of the favorite saints of the Catholic Faith were close to the Pope and emphasized unity with him and loyalty to his office and person. St. Ignatius of Loyola comes to mind who had a separate loyalty oath to the Pope. St. Catherine Siena worked with the Popes to end the western schism and corruption in the Church and her dream and icon had her carrying the “Papal ship” on her shoulders. St. Don Bosco had a dream of the Pope on a ship being attacked by a storm. St. Francis of Assisi went to Pope Innocent III for permission of his order and remained close to him. St. Thomas More went to his death that could of easily been avoided by “mere semantics” because of his loyalty to the Pope and his belief in Papal Supremacy. In fact all the John Cardinal Fisher and all the English martyrs were not content to be High Anglican with a beautiful Sarum Mass and the music of Byrd but also the spiritual communion and ecclesiastical union with the See of Peter.

Even popular movements of folk piety that you like so much were at least partially based on loyalty to the Pope. The Pilgrimage of Grace in Northern England both under Henry VIII and Elizabeth were about staying loyal to their Ancient Faith and a big factor was the unity with the Pope. It was Papal Representatives who went to Ireland and were received by the people to justify a revolt with the help of the Spanish. Swedish Robin Hood Nils Dacke was not only fighting against higher taxes (as was the Pilgrimage of Grace) and a difficult time for farmers but also for religious freedom and the ways of old including monasteries and unity with the Pope. During the peaceful revolution in the Phillipines where Cory Aquino came to power after Ferdinand Marcos it was because Filipinos were praying the Rosary in the Street and blocking tanks with their body and if you look at the old photos there are photos of the Pope all over the place (at that time John Paul II). The largest public parade and gathering in the world (in the history of the world) was the last visit of Pope John Paul II to Mexico for the canonization of St. Juan Diego. Millions of people lined the parade route and the public celebrations–the biggest gathering of his pontificate and no they were not all Opus Dei college students nor members of the Legion of Marcial—but people that you like in Mexico and the Phillipines that cross themselves and pray to dead relatives and practice folk Catholicism that keep an image of the Pope in their homes and pray to Pope John Paul II as a saint (in addition to Santa Muerte, Jesus Malverde, Santa Barbara (Chongo), or crucify themselves in the Phillipines)

The Pope is important to the lives of the average Catholic and should be.
The teachings of the Pope may not be infallible and although some are dense for the most part they are at least interesting and a starting point of how to practically structure the Church and society. Rerum Novarum comes to mind as a great encyclical by Pope Leo XIII. There have been encyclicals for 1000 years banning slavery and statements by Popes earlier than that and early Popes who were slaves. Pope John Paul the II was more circular and conceptual and existential than the more linear and logical Pope Benedict the XVI but both are clearly intelligent men who do write and say a lot of good things even if there is theological room for disagreement.

The Adrian Fortescue quote is interesting as although he studied the ancient Eastern liturgies he was still an ultramontanist and viewed the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox as schismatic rather than as separated brethren or equal successors of the other Apostles. This quote could be used easily by an Orthodox apologist. Also this quote seems to be of the Gilson or Louis Boyer by wanting to read the St. Paul in the original rather than emphasize the devotions to the Sacred Heart or a devotion to Our Lady or Lourdes or going there on a pilgrimage.

15 09 2010
Michael

1) Jesus Malverde does not work:
http://www.suntimes.com/news/24-7/2708862,two-arrested-drugs-patron-saint-091410.article
2) But I will not start praying to Machete either

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