Friday, October 4, 2013

Worldliness

Have you seen these remarks Pope Francis made in Assisi today?  I found them interesting:
All of the baptized comprise the Church and all have to follow Jesus, who stripped himself and chose to be a servant and to be humiliated on his way to the Cross. “And if we want to be Christians, there is no other way,” he said.

Without the Cross, without Jesus and without stripping ourselves of worldliness, he said, “we become pastry shop Christians… like nice sweet things but not real Christians.”
“We need to strip the Church,” he said. “We are in very grave danger. We are in danger of worldliness.”

The Christian cannot enter into the spirit of the world, which leads to vanity, arrogance and pride, he continued. And these lead to idolatry, which is the gravest sin.
The Church is not just the clergy, the hierarchy and religious, he said. “The Church is all of us and we all have to strip ourselves of this worldliness. Worldliness does us harm. It is so sad to find a worldly Christian.” [...]

It is ridiculous that a Christian would want to follow a worldly path, he continued. “The worldly spirit kills; it kills people; it kills the Church.” 

What is worldliness?  It is that very spirit which values the material world above everything else; indeed, it is that spirit which insists that the material world is all there is.  For Christians it often manifests itself in an attitude that places far too much value on wealth and on worldly goods, on prestigious undertakings and lucrative careers, on following paths that lead to material success, even while paying lip service to the Christian idea that this passing world is not our true home.

You won't see too many headlines about these papal remarks, I predict.  That's because our Chattering Classes and the MSM glitterati will nod at these remarks and think "Oh, of course I agree!  Why, that's why I vote the way I do!"  Then they will climb into their $50,000 or $100,000 automobiles and drive to their multimillion-dollar mansions to eat the food prepared for them by their servants (and don't ask embarrassing questions about those workers' immigration status, please) as they use their smartphones and tablets to plan for their next exotic vacation in some picturesque country whose poor form a charming backdrop to the interesting scenery...

8 comments:

Jeff Dickey said...

Good summary. I admire Pope Francis for at least giving it a visibly apparent strong effort; this is something the world has needed to hear, and reflect on, for a very, very long time.

But I don't think you're being quite cynical enough. Of course the definers and defenders of the status quo will present a united front of hypocrisy; that's been how they've defined their job for nearly as long a time. And, with the total concentration of media power, similar to the total concentration of economic power (in closely allied hands), nobody is going to rock the boat in the full knowledge that, by doing so, he'll be knocked overboard. (See the example of Helen Thomas.) Mass media is the strongest reinforcement yet deployed of putting people in their place, encouraging them to accept how things are while making them believe that by wishing but not doing, things will somehow, eventually, "change". We even had a successful US Presidential campaign centred around "hope and change"; building up one but steadfastly refusing to deliver the other in the way people were led to believe (largely by that same mass media).

So, with all due respect, I'd say that the ship Pope Francis is selling tickets on has sailed, long ago. He might, might, be able to reform, refocus and reinvigorate the too-corporate Church well enough that it can build a new ship, and that may well be his intention. But for far too many Catholics and others, his message, like Jesus' message, will be filtered through currently-expedient filters to the point that even reasonably well-intentioned, devout Catholics will continue to be seduced by the idolatry of the material world

Something needs to change. Not the message, but how it's delivered. I think he knows that, and I think he's trying to figure out how. I hope for all our sakes, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, that he succeeds better than his recent predecessors.

Jeff Dickey said...

Good summary. I admire Pope Francis for at least giving it a visibly apparent strong effort; this is something the world has needed to hear, and reflect on, for a very, very long time.

But I don't think you're being quite cynical enough. Of course the definers and defenders of the status quo will present a united front of hypocrisy; that's been how they've defined their job for nearly as long a time. And, with the total concentration of media power, similar to the total concentration of economic power (in closely allied hands), nobody is going to rock the boat in the full knowledge that, by doing so, he'll be knocked overboard. (See the example of Helen Thomas.) Mass media is the strongest reinforcement yet deployed of putting people in their place, encouraging them to accept how things are while making them believe that by wishing but not doing, things will somehow, eventually, "change". We even had a successful US Presidential campaign centred around "hope and change"; building up one but steadfastly refusing to deliver the other in the way people were led to believe (largely by that same mass media).

So, with all due respect, I'd say that the ship Pope Francis is selling tickets on has sailed, long ago. He might, might, be able to reform, refocus and reinvigorate the too-corporate Church well enough that it can build a new ship, and that may well be his intention. But for far too many Catholics and others, his message, like Jesus' message, will be filtered through currently-expedient filters to the point that even reasonably well-intentioned, devout Catholics will continue to be seduced by the idolatry of the material world

Something needs to change. Not the message, but how it's delivered. I think he knows that, and I think he's trying to figure out how. I hope for all our sakes, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, that he succeeds better than his recent predecessors.

Jeff Dickey said...

Good summary. I admire Pope Francis for at least giving it a visibly apparent strong effort; this is something the world has needed to hear, and reflect on, for a very, very long time.

But I don't think you're being quite cynical enough. Of course the definers and defenders of the status quo will present a united front of hypocrisy; that's been how they've defined their job for nearly as long a time. And, with the total concentration of media power, similar to the total concentration of economic power (in closely allied hands), nobody is going to rock the boat in the full knowledge that, by doing so, he'll be knocked overboard. (See the example of Helen Thomas.) Mass media is the strongest reinforcement yet deployed of putting people in their place, encouraging them to accept how things are while making them believe that by wishing but not doing, things will somehow, eventually, "change". We even had a successful US Presidential campaign centred around "hope and change"; building up one but steadfastly refusing to deliver the other in the way people were led to believe (largely by that same mass media).

So, with all due respect, I'd say that the ship Pope Francis is selling tickets on has sailed, long ago. He might, might, be able to reform, refocus and reinvigorate the too-corporate Church well enough that it can build a new ship, and that may well be his intention. But for far too many Catholics and others, his message, like Jesus' message, will be filtered through currently-expedient filters to the point that even reasonably well-intentioned, devout Catholics will continue to be seduced by the idolatry of the material world

Something needs to change. Not the message, but how it's delivered. I think he knows that, and I think he's trying to figure out how. I hope for all our sakes, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, that he succeeds better than his recent predecessors.

Pauli said...

But I don't think you're being quite cynical enough.

Yeah, we can always use more cynicism.

I'd say that the ship Pope Francis is selling tickets on has sailed, long ago.

You're not too far off. It set sail about 2000 years ago. But it is still sailing, and people can still "buy tickets" so to speak.

[N]obody is going to rock the boat in the full knowledge that, by doing so, he'll be knocked overboard. (See the example of Helen Thomas.)

Did Helen Thomas rock the boat? I was under the impression that she went on an anti-Semitic rant.

Tony said...

What is worldliness? It's the idea that with enough agitation and support of the laity, you can change heavenly Truth.

It's the idea that you can pick and choose the doctrines that you accept and still remain Catholic.

It's the idea that you need to make the liturgy "relevant" and the Holy Mass of Jesus Christ is somehow not sufficient.

It's the idea that the priesthood is about power instead of service, and as a woman you're being denied your rightful share of it in the Church.

I can go on and on about "worldliness". :P

Red Cardigan said...

What is worldliness, Tony?

It's the idea that there's a political solution to everything.

It's the idea that you can pick and choose to reject Church teaching on the death penalty, torture, and the promulgation of the Novus Ordo and still be thinking with the Church.

It's the idea that priests exist to confirm your political notions such that a priest who preaches about welcoming the immigrant is fair game for disrespect.

It's the idea that women are not really people and should be treated with disdain and contempt...

Should I go on?

Tony said...

I guess I made my point.

Red Cardigan said...

Which was what, Tony? That you are the most regularly jerkish commenter I get here? Because I think you made that point a long time ago.

My post was about the same thing the pope talked about--the sin of material worldliness. You decided to turn it into a "Spirit of Vatican II" fight for no apparent reason.

I'm tired of this stuff. You're banned from commenting on my blogs. Go be a jerk somewhere else.