Sunday, October 4, 2015

In Cauda Venenum: the Pope's Homily



The old Latin phrase "in cauda venenum" came to mind when the Bear read the Pope's homily at the synod.

In his storied career as a trial lawyer, the Bear learned that he was the best lawyer in the world as a prosecutor. He had to adjust his expectations as a defense lawyer. He knew that nearly all defense pre-trial motions would be denied by the court. The Bear noticed something else. The judge would always praise his argument at first, and only at the end pivot and give his reasons for denying the motion.

This happened every time.

The Bear supposes that was a way of appearing to be fair, and making a record should it be appealed.

But in the end, it was always "in cauda venenum."

The Pope's statement started out being a powerful defense of marriage. Of course the Pope must have an assistant whose only job it is to make sure the words "migrants," "war," "consumerism" and "social and environmental pollution," and so forth get stuck in, however awkwardly. Still, the overall emphasis was clearly on traditional marriage.

"To carry out her mission in truth, which is not changed by passing fads or popular opinions," said Pope Francis. It was so good, the Bear felt sick.

Because then comes the sudden pivot.
To carry out her mission in charity, not pointing a finger in judgment of others, but – faithful to her nature as a mother – conscious of her duty to seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy; to be a “field hospital” with doors wide open to whoever knocks in search of help and support; to reach out to others with true love, to walk with our fellow men and women who suffer, to include them and guide them to the wellspring of salvation.
"The sabbath is made for man, not man made for the sabbath," Pope Francis said. (Jesus broke the sabbath rules by eating handfuls of grain as the walked; what rules-breaking does Pope Francis contemplate?) Now he's quoting Our Lord about "the sick" and "sinners." "The Church must be a good Samaritan to a wounded humanity," the Holy Father said. (And so the Church is, already!) He quotes St. Pope John Paul II that, “Error and evil must always be condemned and opposed; but the man who falls or who errs must be understood and loved… we must love our time and help the man of our time” The Church must not close its doors; must be a bridge, not a roadblock.

"The man of our time."  Whatever encounter with "the man of our time" St. Pope John Paul II contemplated, it was not turning over St. Peter's keys to him and allowing him to change the doctrines of the Church to suit himself!

"In cauda venenum." 

The venom is in the tail. 

The end of the speech is what Pope Francis wanted to say. It does not bode well this October day. The only question is how far will he go?

33 comments:

  1. This is always the way. So clever. The honey, then the barb. This is the beginning of the end. Our pastor told us after Mass when we chatted that he sees a slide into a very dark place for our Church. He urges us to pray the Rosary, and to pray for the conversion of sinner, but he is not hopeful for the short, or medium term.
    Me? I think this is the punishment Our Lady has been warning us to expect if we continued to hurt her Son.
    It is not going to get better even if good bishops are able to stem the tide this year.
    Just how do we get the sodomites to give up the onslaught now that they smell blood? Will Kasper stop his teaching and preaching on the good of sodomy and fornication? Will Cupich, Dolan, and the other wolves stop the corruption in their dioceses? We simply can't go back. There will be a purge then a rebirth.
    Re-read The Lord of the World, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984. While none are perfect analogies they are prophetic, especially The Lord of the World.

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    1. Lord of the World by Fr. Benson (1908!), is one of the finest Catholic novels ever written.

      The end is brilliant, the entire book prophetic, but the scene in which Father Benson describes the future Pope's ascent into contemplative prayer just before the final crisis hits will stay with me forever. A powerful description of faithful ..... and traitorous Catholics in time of crisis.

      The real message of the book is the futility of the plotters and schemers; the peace and confidence of the faithful; and the terrible power of Almighty God, the true Lord of the World who controls His Story.

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    2. Pope Francis quoted "The Lord of the World" back in May 2013.
      What do you make of that?

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    3. I make nothing of it. The book stands alone. I would be the last person to try and explain a question like that.

      If you ever read it, pay attention to the passive aggressive, half smiling agents of one-world government with a "sting in their tail". Compare them to the crazy people driven into exile. Draw your own conclusions.

      And please pay special attention to Fr. Benson's description of (autobiographical perhaps?) contemplative prayer, the key in my opinion to victory if practiced by the Faithful.

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    4. In the end, it's supernatural. A very good reminder.

      And scheduled airline travel in 1908? Just wow.

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  2. Well, Lord of the World envisions a final solution. Of course, that could come at any time, which is why we must be like the wise virgins. I think Brave New World proved to be the most prophetic of that sort of book. Not fear, but pleasure.

    What we do know, or at least the Bear knows, is that however puzzling or even repulsive things get, the Church is still the Church, and he won't got looking elsewhere. That is the quick road to nowhere, some dry branch of doctrinal purity cut off from the living Vine.

    The Church also exists in time. The Bear is inclined to believe there may come a day when the Church looks pretty bleak, but the Bear will remember that we should not be quick to judge a Church that has existed for 2000 years, and may exist another 2000 years, for all we know. We may be the unlucky generation to witness the Great Hiccup.

    Good thoughts about praying the rosary!

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    1. You know , Bear, I think this 'mercy' being proposed by Bergolio stands the parable of the Prodigal Son on its head. In this re-written version the Father trots off to the cesspool where his Prodigal boy remains unrepentant and perfectly happy living it up with wine, women, and pig swill.

      The Bergolian Father entreats his son to please please tell him how he can accommodate his wicked new life and reduce his stress. The son tells the Father to stake him with a bigger bankroll and take a hike.

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    2. Yes, we haven't seen what Franciscan Mercy actually requires of people. Maybe he thinks if the Church asks nothing -- in practice it asks little enough, unless you've really screwed up and divorced and remarried -- people will see it as a short of OT jubilee year. All slates wiped clean, new start. I am curious to see what happens and how it gets explained.

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  3. If someone can do no right by you no matter how hard he may try, then it is your own motives that you should question, not his.

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    1. I don't think Pope Francis has exhausted his opportunities to do right by me. His homily did not bode well, though. Unless you are keen on communion for divorced and remarried people and who knows what else. The Bear gives Francis a fair break and an honest appraisal. Perhaps you missed the recent drama over the Bear blowing up his blog over being faithful to the Church? Anyway, in cauda venenum. Never fails. Poor Bear had to inject antivenin!

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  4. Francis wants to help the sinners? The "man of our time:? Fine. Let us lead him to the confessional. Let us entreat him to renounce his sinful life and follow Jesus.

    Francis, may be the Vicar of Christ, but he is NOT Christ. Christ, the Son of God, could challenge and teach reform of the Jewish norms of His day because HE IS GOD. Francis is NOT God. He cannot challenge and change the norms and teachings from Jesus. We have been doing what Jesus taught 2000 years ago. The men here on earth do NOT have leave to change Jesus' teachings. For shame.

    Pray. Rosary, yes! This is the month of the rosary. You can listen and pray along with an audio phile if you have trouble concentrating.

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    1. No doctrines were harmed in the making of this synod. It will all be pastoral. Souls should know better, but pray their reliance on their pastors will mitigate their sin.

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    2. While it is true that progressive clergy worldwide are on board, this issue of D&RM communion has been pushed mostly by German bishops to have more citizens identify Catholics and ensure a greater share of religious taxes going to the Catholic church in Germany.

      On my blog I say that the German bishops should just rubber stamp the annulments to get the outcome they want. But they don't want the criticism for violating Church doctrine/law. They want to force the entire Church to support such immorality so as to cover their own behinds.

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    3. Separating pastoral practice from doctrine IS heresy, as no less the cardinal Muller of the CDF said some months ago

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    4. Square that with the indefectibility of the Church, please. Many clerics may ignore doctrine, but that does not touch the Church per se. One job we may have is to not contradict the Church's teachings, but where it comes to departures by clerics, however high or how many, we should calmly remind people what the plain old' Catholic Church actually requires. This is how I see this blog being different from trads on the one hand, and everything's fine boosterism on the other. I find less to complain about than treads, and know they won't get that. But I do complain in context without challenging the integrity of our Church, which I recognize in a slice of time stretching back and forwards. Ain't always gonna stay the same, sorry. The keys are the keys. If they're used they work both ways. Let's wait and see.

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    5. Pastoral Theology/practice is supposed to actualise dogmas/doctrines in the local situations and so it would weaken the Faith (Familiars Consortio taught) to institute a praxis over-turning a multi-millennial year praxis in much the same way as if a Governor approved a measure to let men drink and drive (but only light beer) in states where driving is boring, like nevada - "they already do it anyways" but insisted the doctrine of DUI remained untouched.

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  5. Today, Jesus had the last word: Mark 10, the reading this Sunday, on the opening day of the Synod. It will have sent chills through any bishops toying with Kasperism.

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    1. Yeah--/the readings today at ye old novus ordo church where I work as music director were chillingly apropos for the first day of the Synod. However, with Francis' new "if you like your marriage you can keep your marriage" easy annulment plan, Frank has already attacked the sacrament of matrimony. No real need to do anything else---the damage has already been done. He will probably make a big show of being an humble and ardent supporter of traditional marriage at the synod where nothing major will happen despite the frantic cacophony in the conservative catholic blogosphere.
      The damage has already been done.

      As a convert from Protestantism, I feel so utterly betrayed and completely frustrated with novus ordo "everything is awesome" friends. Unitarians seem more honest these days.

      Seattle kim

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    2. With the 'Annulment Plan' all neatly tucked in, the only other controversial issue they are left to deal with is the acceptance of sodomy. It is a travesty when families need the Church's help in so many legitimate areas and this is what the focus is!!? God HELP US!!

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    3. Bear says let's wait and see, then look at what has happened and comment in context.

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  6. The Church should encourage faithfulness not marital abandonment. Not so complicated.

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    1. Not so complicated ... and common sense and sane ...

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    2. Sadly, Pope Francis has pulled the Church out of that battle in the face of what he views as overwhelming opposition. It is the time to make a stand, and that will fall to us, somehow. Start with our own marriages, or children, example, but eventually more directly, and I'm not talking about preaching to the choir here. We know! How do we impact our culture? It's like we're the French resistance, and they just called off D-Day!

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  7. Pope Francis sure has a wayward way with words. But nearly everyone will eat it up. And such "mercy", too. I wonder who is inspiring him? Surely not his Guardian Angel.

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  8. Replies
    1. Bear,
      That's a great 'shout out' from Fr. Z! To echo Netmilsmom-Congratulations!

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    2. I was puzzled, but you're right! Bear is making a big comeback -- today.

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    3. It's official: between Pewsitter and Fr. Z this is the most-viewed post. Could have done worse. It's not a bad post, if I say so for myself.

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  9. Alas, poor Bear. Prosecution and Defence, eh? Pity me the poor Owl who perched on the other side of the bench for 20 years and now must endlessly cross-examine myself with the question 'Who was I to judge?'.

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    1. Bear hopes most of his judges are tormented by that question ;-) Or bedbugs.

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    2. Poor Owl habited Penn's Woods but was not known as a quaker.

      Delete

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