Friday, September 18, 2015

As a Catholic, I wish to apologize... non-Catholics, for the silly rock star-like visit of the Pope of Rome to America.  In all its tawdry glitter, its obvious Hollywood-style PR, its sick-making gushing by talking (air)heads on TV and elsewhere, it is a supreme embarrassment to simple Catholics, and to the dignity of the Office of the papacy.

When Pope John Paul II came to the US in 1979 there was a bit of celebration and hoopla, not all of which was bad, that accompanied him, and overall he kept as much of his dignity as was possible.

But in the case of our current Pope that is not so.  He revels in the spotlight.  He enjoys (way too much, I'm afraid) the adulation, gushing and celebrity.  As of this writing everything we know about his visit reeks of phony tinsel and pumped-up enthusiasm, the worst aspects of Madison Avenue personified in one man.

I must also apologize, in advance, for what will surely be more thoughtless remarks which may come from the lips of Francis, if past events are any indication.  I cringe when I imagine what he might say.

I as a Catholic am profoundly sorry to see this and I ask my non-Catholic friends and readers to realize that this is not normal, not proper and not holy.  It is nothing other than a circus of excess, a jamboree, and it fills me with a deep sorrow over the sullied reputation of the Catholic Church. Glancing over the lineup of events and personages who will be involved in this pseudo rock concert leaves me with a sense of dread for the future.  That it fits perfectly with the ethos of your typical Sunday Mass in most American parishes is an observation one cannot avoid making.

This extravaganza is not the Catholic Church; it is instead the cheapest of theatrical excesses. The real Church can be found in a quiet chapel or church somewhere, with God present in the Tabernacle, and quiet prayers being said by those who know why they are there.


Elizabeth said...

You took the words right out of my mouth, Aged Parent. And beautifully stated. Thank you. I'm definitely sharing this post!

Allan said...

Rather than apologizing for the pope's visit, perhaps you should apologize TO him, for the flurry of insults you dropped on him. "Revels in the spotlight"? "Enjoys the adulation, gushing, and celebrity"? "The worst aspects of Madison Avenue personified in one man"? "A circus of excess"? Perhaps you should complete your conversion to Protestantism and just call him the anti-Christ; you've basically done it already anyway.

Is it his fault American society is obsessed with celebrity? Should he just not come to America at all then? How can he control what the "talking (air)heads on TV" are saying? Sure, the media overblow things like this, and focus only on the parts they like, while ignoring the parts of his message they don't like (kind of like you do). But to blame him for that? Fundamentally dishonest on your part, a grave sin and a serious defect of character. To paraphrase your quote from the Kasich article, Aged Parent, please go away!

Elizabeth said...

My reading of Aged Parent's piece isn't that he's primarily apologizing for the Papal visit itself, but for the Pope. This Pope. And hoping non-Catholics out there don't form their opinion of the Catholic Church based on what comes out of this Pope's mouth.

Dymphna said...

I wish he were not coming. It will a mess and and a monstrous inconvenience for thousands of people who will look badly on the church ad they find themselves two hours late for work.

Dymphna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aged parent said...


The late Hamish Fraser once asked in the 1980s, in view of all the papal peregrinations of John Paul II, "what do these trips accomplish?" What Fraser was saying was that the Pope didn't come to these lands to admonish the sinner, to preach the true Faith, to restore order in the local Churches. Instead, these trips turned into mere "events" which produced an emotional "high" and then, afterwards, the rotting of the Faith went on and on, as before. In fact, it got worse, because the Pope's presence would give the impression that the horrible Bishops who were destroying their dioceses now had papal approval by his presence.

They turned into nothing but pseudo-religious rock concerts, where well-meaning idiots or notable dissenters would perform for the Pope while the crowds cheered unthinkingly, unquestioningly. In short, these trips not only accomplished nothing, they made the situation in the Church worse. The Popes never ruled; they never corrected. They never kicked some of these priests and Bishops in their backsides and told them to shape up or ship out. That is the main problem with all these papal extravaganzas.

A genuine expression of public Catholicism is a Marian procession, a Eucharistic gathering, and such like, where the Faith was taught. These were not occasions to sell cheap baubles - like the papal "doggy costumes" I viewed on TV the other day, papal regalia that you can dress your dog in. You state that it isn't the Pope's fault that Americans have a celebrity cult. True enough. But Popes don't have to contribute to that cult by these unseemly displays. It just makes it worse. And this Pope, contrary to what you suggest, does seem to, shall we say, enjoy the spotlight. Some of his recent autocratic moves proves my point. He rules, it seems, with his emotions, not with his head.

I do not know if you are a regular reader here, but if you were you would see that I try to be as fair as possible with the Holy Father. Some commenters suggest that I don't criticize him enough, others think I criticize too much. The man is so confusing and downright odd that we are constantly being bounced back and forth, so much so that it is hard to come to a conclusion as to what motivates him. Yes, he has said (and done) some courageous things. This blog has pointed them out. But he instantly undoes all the good will he has built up by those actions and says or does something simply awful. Take a look at the creeps and pederasts he has chosen to lord it over next month's Synod.

We can argue about the merits of these papal visitations. I find them useless and self-defeating. And dangerous to the Faith. They play upon emotions, not clear Catholic thinking. As such I believe they do damage to the Church. We can also argue about what makes Francis "tick". I confess that I don't know. If you know, please help by telling us. I do know one thing: actions speak louder than words. So perhaps you and I will find out what is going through his head next month in Rome. His easing of an already far too easy annulment process is a recipe for disaster. That is an indicator of what may be coming in a few very short weeks.

Thank you for your comment. Your remarks are always welcome here.

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