Provincialism of the present in papal polemics
September 28, 2013 § 17 Comments
I’ve mentioned before that I am watching from a distance, with a kind of bemusement, all of the various reactions to Pope Francis. I personally haven’t read a single thing he has said that – read charitably – I disagree with; although I haven’t been reading and scrutinizing everything he says at all, so that may not say much. For example I have seen a few snippets of, but have not read, the Big Scandalous Interview that has everyone so worked up.
Well, there is one exception. His remarks about the Church “talking too much about abortion” do strike me as … uninformed. I’ve been to lots of Masses of course, and the number of Masses where abortion is mentioned at all are very few and far between. And I can understand how those specific remarks could be demoralizing to folks who have dedicated their lives to fighting abortion, which is one of the largest-scale atrocities ever committed by human beings in all of history, far outstripping anything done by the Nazis or the Communists. I wonder if the Holy Father’s perspective on this is skewed by Argentinian provincialism, because Argentina is a Catholic enough country that abortion is illegal there.
But here is the thing. Lets grant – purely for the sake of argument – that Francis is a terrible heretic out there saying and doing all sorts of scandalous things. People who think that a pope saying and doing scandalous things contrary to doctrine undermines Catholic ecclesiology simply have to be, among other things, ignorant about some of the basic history of the Church. They simply must be suffering from a kind of provincialism of the present.
What precisely is it that makes such people think that the current age deserves – that we personally deserve – a better pope than Alexander VI or Benedict IX?
It would be wildly out of character, but I can’t help but picture John Paul II kind of winking at traditionalists and saying “miss me yet?”
(This post is an expanded version of a comment I left at the Orthosphere).
 There is a “life of the mother” exception written into the law, as I understand it. If that exception permits doctors to perform any procedure whatsoever to save the mother, no matter what that procedure entails, it goes against Catholic doctrine and the natural law. If however it carefully delimits procedures and circumstances it might not. But in any case the point is that abortion as a political football is quite different in Francis’ homeland than it is in the first world, so his personal view of how things are in America and Europe could be wildly inaccurate.