Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Faithful Catholics: The Periphery is Not US

Fr. Z.  in trying to wrap his head around Pope Francis' thinking, invokes South American journalist Alejandro Bermudez  of CNA to explain one of the pope's key concepts-- the periphery:

To condense wildly, it seems that Francis may breathe in a school of thought that sees a kind of “manifest destiny” for Latin America. When cultures develop a interior decay, which they always do, revitalization of the cultures comes from “peripheries”. 

Fr. Z goes on to fisk part of an article covering Pope Francis' Q & A session with the Schoenstatt Movement. He quotes this part:

There is only one center: Jesus Christ – who rather looks at things from the periphery, no? Where he sees things more clearly,” the Pope observed, saying that when closed inside the small worlds of a parish, a community and even the Roman Curia, “then you do not grasp the truth.” [emphasis mine]

Okay, so what does Fr. Z offer as the "periphery"?

Traditional Catholics whose “legitimate aspirations” have been drawn to the traditional forms of our sacred liturgical worship, and who stick closely to traditional expressions of doctrine, are a periphery.   They have even been made into a periphery by the Church’s own appointed pastors. 
It’s time to start listening to this periphery.

I wanted to facepalm so hard at this statement.

This is exactly what the Pope is speaking out against: Talking about oneSELF, one's group, one's agenda.

Traditional Catholics are not "the periphery."

If you're a Catholic in good standing with your Church, whether you get your preferred liturgy or not, you are not the periphery.

Here is a speech that Pope Francis gave that will help understand what he's talking about:

 Evangelizing pre-supposes a desire in the Church to come out of herself. The Church is called to come out of herself and to go to the peripheries, not only geographically, but also the existential peripheries: the mystery of sin, of pain, of injustice, of ignorance and indifference to religion, of intellectual currents, and of all misery. 
When the Church does not come out of herself to evangelize, she becomes self-referential and then gets sick. (...) The evils that, over time, happen in ecclesial institutions have their root in self-referentiality and a kind of theological narcissism.

 When the Pope talks about going to the peripheries, he's not talking about bellyaching about our pet Church pet peeve.

That's being self-referential.

He wants us to GO OUT AND SAVE SOULS.

What the heck do we suppose the Church is for?

When you go out and save souls, you're not trying to fight a culture war, or get somebody elected, or get the priest to face the crucifix during Mass, as important as all these things may be.

You're trying to bring Christ into their hearts, to heal them, not to gain an ideological convert.

I love Fr. Z. I love the pro-life movement, I am a culture warrior, but we really have to get over ourselves. It's not about us or our causes.

It's about the people.  All the lost, confused and damaged souls who don't have Christ in their lives.

 I'll be the first to confess I'm way more comfortable bitching about dissent in the Church than talking face to face with non-believers about Jesus. Because it seems so surreal when you say it out in the open. How do you talk about God in this world? I mean in the real world, not social media.

Pope Francis kisses severely disabled people and phones people to comfort them about their situations.

You do that first. You meet them where they are and try to help deal with what's in front of them.

How do you do the psychological and moral equivalent to that in people's lives?

There's no point in arguing God's existence with someone who doesn't feel his presence and hungers for it. They don't understand what they're missing and it's all moot to them.