Pope Francis Against Ideology

A short break in my ongoing attempt to Kickstart my debut album, LATE TO LOVE.

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Today at, Ethika Politika, I have an essay — “Francis’ Radical Realism: Performance v. Ideology” —  about what I am calling Francis’ “radical realism.”

I trace this idea in three ways: (1) the words and deeds of his own pontificate, (2) the preceding progression of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, and (3) in dialogue with the (surprisingly complimentary) thought of Alasdair MacIntyre and Slavoj Zizek.

All of this amounts to nothing short of a Latin American Catholic critique of ideology, including an ideological notion of Catholicism.

An excerpt:

Francis’s radical realism, then, is to treat the Word as an incarnate thing, as a reality to be shown more than it is said, to let its proclamation live in the performance of its witness, to be captured in pictures of tenderness, embrace, ordinary living. A kiss. Acts such as these are immune to the ideological trap of Western ideas that has turned so much of the reality of the Gospel into intellectual history, moral theology, and dogmatic ideals. A real Gospel cannot be a philosophy or even a philosophical theology. A philosophical Catholicism is what Francis seems to be avoiding, and for good reason.

Read the whole thing here.

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In predictable fashion, the essay has attracted the scorn of some Catholics, calling it “postmodern nonsense” or ridiculing it as an example of a young academic who has lost his way. (One critic suggested that I need to be slapped. He is very naughty.)

While there may be serious arguments to be made for these claims, and others like them, no such argument have accompanied any of these particular reactions, that amount to nothing more than petty insults.

But my critics have been too generous. Their defensive refrains, choosing from their ideological word bank — Is it really groundbreaking to call a university professor a postmodern and a danger to young minds? Didn’t Allan Bloom write that book int he 80′s? — are nothing short of a performance of ideology that pairs perfectly with Francis’ radical realism and its immunity to such nonsense.

In other words, the performance belies the content, providing a perfect foil to the argument I am making.

*

The essay ends with the following:

Francis is calling the Church, and the world, to reject ideology as such, to decolonize and disabuse itself from the deleterious effects of Western intellectualism, to perform an embrace of reality, most of all, the reality of Christ and his presence among us in the poor and the suffering.

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    Before reading the essay, the conclusion startled me. As a Brazilian, I recognize Francis’ approach as typical of the South, if not of Latin, America. However, when this style became predominant, one might say that it at least coincided with the beginning of the decimation of the Catholic population and its loss to Protestant sects.

    In my own extended family I find anecdotal evidence for a causal link between such style and the attrition in the Church. Very few continued practicing the faith, but most left religion altogether, except when hatching, matching and dispatching, and some joined Protestant sects or pagan cults, including African and New Age ones.

    Some factors were the blatant ideology (Liberation Theology) and the scandal of the promotion of material poverty. One repelled the faithful for its association with political forces that caused much commotion and violence; the other shocked the faithful living in poverty, considered a curse to be avoided, not embraced, for there’s nothing holy in not being able to afford food and medicines while one’s child is hungry or ill. All in all, it was too much for many to be preached to by clergy who lived in relative comfort and tranquility, smacking as hypocritical.

    Perhaps this is why Francis tends to be more popular in wealthy countries and fare rather poorly in poor countries (v. http://bit.ly/1gj3eFg ). As a matter of fact, this style has little to show for it in South America, even in Card. Bergoglio’s own diocese of Buenos Aires, whose mass attendance fell from 30 to 20% under his watch (v. http://bit.ly/1b5n9Kn ). Yet, even in rich countries where Francis enjoys great popularity, or at least in the US, mass attendance hasn’t increased and RCIA classes are the same size as usual.

    So, far from calling to reject ideology, Francis introduces a new ideology, one which in my opinion has failed the Church in many countries and which I doubt will yield a different fruit in a global scale.

    • SamRocha

      I think the anecdotal is important, but limited. My own anecdotes weigh in the other direction, but I think there must be a more credible way to unify our different experiences… Let me think more about it…

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        I think Augustine handed it to you on a silver platter.

        The difference is Developed World Plenty vs Developing World Scarcity- and the true answer is radical indiscriminate generosity.

        • SamRocha

          i think Augustine and I have two very different, but real, first person experiences we draw on. I think we have a lot to learn from each other in this regard.

          • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

            It was never my intention to troll the comboxes, but to actually dialog about Francis.

            Mind you, I was a volunteer in WYD in Rio and I was blown away by Francis’ homilies. They were at the same time spiritually profound and humanly practical. I was deeply impressed with him then, but I have to confess that his actions and broad statements, including his exhortation, confuse me and bring back sad memories about the Church in Brazil.

            For instance, Francis’ emphasis on poverty was typical at the Brazilian pulpits through the 80s. However, the poor people heard this with scandal, as if they had to conform to their station in life and remain poor, denying their desire to improve their condition. IOW, what they heard came across as an elitist speech to keep them down and it scandalized them. Many of these ended up in evangelical churches which preached the false gospel of prosperity. Now, protestant sects had been around for decades, without making many strides in membership, until the Church changed its emphasis to poverty, not to combat it, but to laud it. A well meaning, but mistaken approach to comforting the poor.

            But I guess that churchmen then were merely men of their times. Not that it had to end up where it did, for perhaps they got too close to worldly theories and didn’t temper them with the perspective of the Church. Regardless, as I said before, I don’t think that this approach was productive, it was actually damaging to millions of souls, and I am apprehensive about Francis still having this style and apparently having neglected its criticism. I don’t mean this as much as from his words as from his actions, in particular by some of the eight cardinals he chose to advise him.

            Finally, perhaps your experience is about Mexico, which certainly experienced the history of the last half century differently from the rest of Latin America. I think that at least South America lived this period very similarly, so I feel comfortable extending my experience in Brazil to the rest of the continent, which is confirmed by friends from other South American countries. As a matter of fact, talking about the struggle in our countries to Peruvians, Venezuelans, Argentinians, Bolivians, it’s like we’re talking about the same country. I don’t have this impression when talking to Mexicans and perhaps this is why our perceptions differ.

            Pax Christi

          • Tero

            As a first-generation American of Argentine parentage who returns there regularly, I have to say that Augustine’s comments coincide substantially with my impressions of the situation. I don’t see that Francis has managed to uniquely transcend ideology (I don’t think he’s alone in that, I’m sure I certainly don’t). His approach is a very common and practiced one in Argentina, and has had about two generations to produce fruit.

  • A Cynic

    http://theoldevangelization.com/subvert-the-catholic-faith-with-this-one-weird-worldview/

    “One of the more obvious signs of modernism is their reform of philosophy. Modernists loathe scholasticism, and promote modern philosophies as alternatives. Pope St. Pius X went so far as to say “the passion for novelty is always united in them with hatred of scholasticism, and there is no surer sign that a man is on the way to Modernism than when he begins to show his dislike for this system”.”

    • SamRocha

      Sadly, this sort of generalizing talk ignores the vast variety and differences between Modern philosophers, many of whom were fiercely critical of Modernity.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    The problem being of course, that Jesus Christ was not an anarchist who denied the existence of sin. Inclusion by conversion is more powerful than inclusion by tolerance.

    • Guest

      And the irony is that by tolerance everyone is excluded from everyone else.

    • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

      Indeed, just like there is no justice without mercy, there is no mercy without justice. Tolerance denies both and affirms indifference.

    • Mike Blackadder

      It’s true that we should not bar others from Christ because they sin, this is truly hypocritical, but that’s not what is being discussed. What is being discussed is convincing others to come to our Church by laying off asserting the values of the Church when these assertions are unpopular or make others uncomfortable or ashamed to be associated with the church.

      I think that Francis has a valuable and necessary message and it’s actually very good in my opinion that his message sparks this kind of dialogue. At the same time it offends me to hear such black and white dogma as realities are more important than ideas. Yes, you should actually LIVE Catholicism, but that should not prevent us being forthright with the truth.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        It is precisely because reality is more important than ideas- that I say we need to be *stronger* and *more black and white* . Nature isn’t about shades of grey- most of the universe is binary. There’s no such thing as a little bit dead or a little bit pregnant, and morality is about trying to keep people from harming themselves with the stuff we are absolutely certain *is harmful*. Laying off the “unpopular assertions” just guarantees that more people will be harmed. Tolerance is HATE.

        • Guest

          “reality is more important than ideas”
          That’s an idea, and “reality” is more important than ideas if you want to live like a pebble or a monkey.
          Thanks be to God for Pope Pebble 1

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            I’m confused, what does William Kamm have to do with it?

          • Guest

            Don’t even know who Kamm is.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            He’s an anti-Pope from Australia who claimed to have a vision from Christ: ““I tell you most solemnly, my dear child, my Little Pebble of Love: it was on Peter the rock that I built my Church and it is upon you, the Pebble, that I will renew and save my Church”.

            He proceeded to style himself as “Pope Peter II” and promote himself as an anti-Pope, until 2005 when he was thrown in jail for clergy abuse. He was well known by his detractors as Pope Pebble I, which led to my confusion above.

            http://www.fathershomepage.com/index.php/articles/91-william-kamm-the-fragmented-pebble

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Kamm

          • Guest

            I’m calling Francis pebble 1 for his “anti-ideology”

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            I find it interesting, but not worth that. Michael Voris, who is likely far more conservative than both of us, explained why in a Vortex today:
            http://www.churchmilitant.tv/daily/?today=2014-03-17
            —–
            Sorry, Guest, wrong link earlier. Edited

          • Guest

            I watched the first couple of minutes of “the pope is different”.
            When any Christian…..ANY…..Christian is above criticism you don’t have the Christian religion anymore. You have a cult. And Voris can deal with that reality while he’s kissing ass and going with the flow in his effort to keep his channel popular.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            The Church is not a democracy. The Pope is the Vicar of the Once and Future King, Jesus Christ.

            Having said that, the media image presented of Pope Francis has been extremely flawed indeed. But when I read Evangelii Gaudium in light of the encyclicals that preceded it over the last 130 years or so, I find the message to be remarkably consistent, regardless of the Pope involved or the false dichotomy between centrally planned capitalism and centrally planned communism.

            http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-history-of-evangelii-gaudium.html

          • Guest

            The true King commands us to love others as we love Him. That ain’t no monarch.
            And I’m not concerned with the media. It’s the almost daily heretical babble coming out of pebble the first.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            The Greatest Commandment is “Love the Lord Your God, with all Your Heart, Soul and Mind”. The second is “Love Your Neighbor as You Love Yourself.” Nothing in there about loving others the way we love Christ- nothing in there about worshiping man.

            The media is causing the babble. When you read the original, it’s a lot less heretical and makes a lot more sense.

            For instance, the phrase “Who am I to Judge” was in relation to ONE priest, who was accused of a homosexual indescretion for which there was no actual evidence, who was publicly repentant of homosexuality and trying to live a celibate life while preaching homosexuality to be an intrinsic disorder. But by the time the media got done with it, the image of Pope Pebble, as you put the cartoonish version, was a total reversal of Church teaching regarding an intrinsic disorder.

            The media does matter. Read what the man actually says, and has actually written, not what other people “interview” him and cut his words down to fit their own biases.

          • Guest

            Ok, you’re out of it. If the Pope says something heretical and you go along with it because he’s the Pope, my advice for you is to jump in front of a bus right now. It’s the same thing. And I’ll get back to you on the other stuff.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            What should the church say to divorced and remarried people, and homosexuals?

            In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are “socially wounded” because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this. During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro, I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.

            A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: “Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?” We must always consider the person.
            —————————–
            That isn’t heresy. That’s Christianity.

          • Guest

            If I’m pillaging, plundering or a raving economist but I’m seeking God, who am I to judge? Heaven only knows what’s Godly about those things or how those things represent a good will, or why I have judged seeking God to be good while not judging other things at all.

            “We must always consider the person.”
            Yes, we must always consider the pillager.

          • Guest

            Heave only knows why I keep making the contradictory judgement of who am I to judge.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            I know what *can* be Godly about those things, for I have the example of a Protestant man who if he had been Catholic, I’d certainly be working on his cause for Sainthood: Les Schwab of Oregon and the infamous tire chain. His business practices are my example of what Christian Capitalism *should* look like- full of Caritas for his customers and his employees.

            Just as I know what *can* be Godly about human sexuality- when it leads to procreation.

          • Guest

            There is no such thing as Christian capitalism, communism or any other kind of Christian economics. Love does not expect something in return. It gives what is not owed. But given the way most people are that will require Divine intervention.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            I’d have to say, that at least over the 50 years Les ran Les Schwab tire centers, which never has gone public (you have to be a family member or an employee to own stock in it) “Giving what is not owed” is the central part of the business model. It’s certainly what has kept me coming back as a customer over the 25 years I’ve been a customer, it’s what my friend who went to work for them 25 years ago when he graduated from high school has received as an employee.

            Divine intervention was indeed involved- Les often referred to his Christian beliefs in both marketing materials and his management style.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Schwab

            Likewise on the other side- Christian sexuality is the sacrament of marriage- a love so strong that 9 months later you have to give it a name, and 35 years later you’re still involved in the act of creation that comes from it.

          • Guest

            You paid money, and got was owed,tires.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            I paid money. I got what I was owed, tires. In addition, I got what was not owed: free rotations for the life of the tire. A warranty that will outlast my ownership of the car. Roadside assistance so that I never have to worry about my wife getting raped by some pervert because she got a flat tire. Sipping so that I can buy cheap tires and get the same traction as the fancy all weather models. Oh, and of course, since I buy in February, a couple of steaks to take home for the grill. That’s a lot more than “just what was owed”.

            And that’s their standard business model.

            Just what was owed is WalMart. Going beyond what is owed, is putting people first and pennies second, and giving away whatever you can and still stay in business.

            There’s a world of difference.

          • Guest

            lol @ people who think they haven’t paid for the “extras”

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Oh, we pay for it alright. The profit margin that old Les liked to give away did not come out of thin air.

            But funny thing- I can only find one tire company around here that charges less. Costco. And you get what you pay for with them- no warranty, no service, tires that are likely to blow before you get out of their massive parking lot.

          • Guest

            “Oh, we pay for it alright. The profit margin that old Les liked to give away did not come out of thin air.”

            Exactly, it’s an economic exchange.

            “But funny thing- I can only find one tire company around here that charges less. Costco. And you get what you pay for with them- no warranty, no service, tires that are likely to blow before you get out of their massive parking lot.”
            That you get less somewhere else doesn’t change that it’s an economic exchange.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Who ever said it wasn’t? Even sex is an economic exchange, in the long run.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO1ifNaNABY

          • Guest

            “Giving what is not owed” is the central part of the business model.
            You paid and you got what was owed. That you got less at Costco doesn’t change this.

            Do you have amnesia or do you like to keep spinning?

          • Guest

            Here’s a reminder

            “Giving what is not owed” is the central part of the business model.

            Oh, we pay for it alright. The profit margin that old Les liked to give away did not come out of thin air.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Les didn’t have to give more for the same money. It wasn’t owed. He did so because of his love for mankind.

            Nobody would have faulted him for taking a larger share of the profits, and reducing the value given to customers and labor alike, as you say, that’s the normal way of doing business- all that is ever owed is the minimal. He could have easily gotten by like all the other tire stores do, paying minimum wage and no commissions and charging premium prices for junk because few people know the difference. But he didn’t- because that wouldn’t have been loving, that wouldn’t have been Christian.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Name me one heretical thing the Pope has actually said (as opposed to edited to say). Give me the Argentinian Spanish and the Italian, as well as your own translation. Do not get it from the New York Times.

          • Guest

            Geez I dunno, let’s start with the Vatican plans to celebrate the reformation 3 years from now. Get that? Celebrate.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            And this is different from Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II signing the Joint Declaration on Justification with the Lutherans and the Methodists exactly how?

            The protest ended formally in 1999. There are holdouts, but Protestants are no longer Protesting.

          • Guest

            lol I’m going out of my fucking mind here. Who am I talking with?
            “And this is different from Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II signing the Joint Declaration on Justification with the Lutherans and the Methodists exactly how?”
            Then those other popes are heretical as well.
            Listen, prottys are a heresy. The Vatican cannot celebrate that heresy. If the prottys are no longer protesting then the Vatican and the prottys should not be celebrating the reformation in 2017. You know, the reformation, the protest. And if the prottys are not protesting anymore then they should be Catholic. But the prottys who signed that document are still prottys right?

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            The Protestants *WERE* a heresy. The Joint Declaration significantly changes Lutheran and Methodist theology to be in line with Catholic teaching. Go and read it.

          • Guest

            Significant doesn’t cut it. And if it has been changed then there should be no prottys. And the Vatican is still planning on celebrating the reformation, the heresy.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            We’re already headed towards no more prottys.

            The party, the celebration, is a part of that- bringing them back into the fold.

            It already started with Papa Benedicto’s Anglicans, brought in by the diocese by their Bishops.

            The problem is, though, you can kind of think of the Prot Rebellion as a bunch of rafts that have left the ship. They’re still stuck in the same current, but we don’t exactly have the ropes to reel them back in. It will take time, and *effort on our part*.

            Here’s another part of that effort:
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5TwrG8B3ME

          • Guest

            I’m starting to get tired of the typical patheos spinning.
            The Vatican is celebrating the reformation, the protest. Stop trying to hustle.
            If anything we’re heading towards no more Vatican.

          • Guest

            Yo, did you notice how the protty prioritizes Grace. He begins with Grace? And the Vatican signed that? I know why there is no more protest. The Vatican gave in to the prottys.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Grace has always been a part of Catholic teaching, in exactly this formula.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            The Vatican is celebrating the END of the protest. I’ve got family involved in the Emergence movement, who are rediscovering the Early Church Fathers- and with them, Catholicism.

          • Guest

            Right the Vatican is celebrating the end of the protest because it accepted the protest , like compromising on grace and on top of that making it the beginning.
            Stop trying to hustle.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            No hustle involved- just watching what is actually going on. We haven’t changed church teaching at all. These groups are joining us because they finally see the fruit of Sola Scriptura is nothing more than moral relativism.

          • Guest

            “The Greatest Commandment is “Love the Lord Your God, with all Your Heart, Soul and Mind”. The second is “Love Your Neighbor as You Love Yourself.” Nothing in there about loving others the way we love Christ”

            Yes there is. We are to love people with the eyes of the universal.

            “nothing in there about worshiping man.”
            It would have been anthropomorphism if I had said He commands us to love Him as we love others.

        • Mike Blackadder

          Good points Theodore. I don’t think that I articulated well what actually bothers me about this ‘reality trumps ideas’ dogma. What is offensive to me is maybe not so much highlighting the priority of reality, but it’s the suggestion that truthfulness (through ideology) and charity are mutually exclusive; as though by choosing to be ‘black and white’ about morality we lose the ability to be a good example for Christianity.

          It seems to me that our theology has always declared the exact opposite, which our friend Augustine articulated quite well in his reply ‘Indeed, just like there is no justice without mercy, there is no mercy without justice. Tolerance denies both and affirms indifference.’. The Holy See has for the past century correctly identified the great threat of relativism, not simply as a secondary or academic argument, but as an emerging ideology that has formed in large part the culture that exists today.
          Isn’t Francis’ evolution into the predominance of reality actually telling us that the ideological front on the part of Catholics is an impediment to evangelization and so it must be lifted? Is this simply a utilitarian approach that is supposed to get more people to come to church? Are we perhaps forgetting that what actually draws souls into the fold is the very thing which is common to all in our human nature; a nagging insatiable disposition to seek out the truth? You can’t take that away from the face of Christ.

          • Guest

            “Is this simply a utilitarian approach that is supposed to get more people to come to church?”
            Probably, and if so, it’s even more heretical.

        • Mike Blackadder

          I don’t see where Francis has ever uttered a heresy. It’s true that the media has spun some of his comments to fit a desired narrative. This is to be expected. It requires a concerted effort to correct the message when this occurs, and what’s confusing is that the Vatican sometimes seems slow to do so, and instead we see it falling upon the lay Catholic to constantly explain what Francis really meant to say.

          Someone once said that they found Francis to be very Christ-like. I think that’s a very accurate observation. Like Christ, Francis causes quite a stir, and it is this stir that is the source of grumbling against him, not anything that could actually be tied to a heresy. We have a situation of a very dominant secularized society, one that believes in the ‘right’ to abortion, sexual freedom, and certain untruths about the Catholic church in general. And there is a small number amongst Catholics and other Christian denominations who speak out and believe they are defending the morals of the church, the integrity of Christianity etc. And what do we see Francis do, but seem to weigh in on the side of secularists and identifying these preaching Christians as extremists. In quite a radical way he would rather do away with all of that and instead live as Christians in a new way.

          Others may agree or disagree with this characterization, they may say that Francis means to say something else, but what strikes me is how similar this is to Christ’s story with the Pharisees.

          Like Francis, Christ turned the narrative upside down, pointing out that those who believed themselves to be holy are not, and in fact are the greatest sinners; the great sin of spiritual pride! That the tax collector and the prostitute can overcome their sin and be saved, but these self-aggrandized holy men are doomed by their false piety that they hoard to themselves. Like Christ, I think some of us set out to crucify Francis, calling him a heretic, identifying him as our enemy, no more than a man who is misguided, etc. We like to imagine that this indignation is all about the real Christ, in defense of God, but really how much of it is to serve our own ego, that we can not suffer the indignity of imagining we are actually spiritually inferior to our secular counterparts?

          This is why despite some of my own grumbling, my advise to others is to try to read Francis with the faith that the Holy Spirit is working through him, that the Holy Spirit is trying to tell YOU something. It can go wrong when you begin to focus too much on what other people might be hearing.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Pope Francis hasn’t uttered heresies, but the “narrative” that the media edits him to fit is most certainly heresy. Maybe someday they’ll repent. But likely not before selling out Francis for 30 pieces of silver.

          • Mike Blackadder

            I realize that you’re not calling Francis Heretical. I’m agreeing with you, I just sometimes reply to comments in the wrong places ;)

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            I am highly suspicious about one section of Ignatian Spirituality though that Pope Francis has taught- that to learn another person’s reality, one must walk with him.

            I’d put that “to learn another person’s PERSPECTIVE of reality”, for a central part of my own theology that I cannot get rid of without going insane, is that there is One God, One Universe, One Reality, One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. It’s all one. Not 7 billion separate realities, just one.

            But even then, my quarrel is with St. Ignatius himself, and the Jesuits in general, not Francis.

  • Guest

    And finally the great age of Pope Pebble 1 came to be.

  • Guest

    Anyone else hear how the Vatican is planning to celebrate the reformation with prottys in 2017?
    God bless Pope Pebble1.

  • Mike Blackadder

    I find it ironic that Francis is described as anti-ideological while at the same time he is criticized for being ideological with his economics – suggesting that if you advocate for free markets, for capitalism that this makes you self-centered or indifferent to the poor. What if these right wing Capitalists whether rich are poor also happen to be the ones who tend to give, who tend to volunteer their time for the well being of those less fortunate, while the critics of Capitalism see no personal obligation towards the poor because they pay taxes and support the more ‘caring’ political party? Francis’ misjudgment in is case is actually a good illustration of what he argues elsewhere – that saying we care and saying we love is a shallow substitute for actually living the life of one who cares and one who loves.

  • Frank McManus

    Damn, I go away for a couple months and when I come back, there’s a great Sam Rocha kickstarter project and a pretty awesome new Sam Rocha essay!

    I’ll be listening to the Trio’s show in Steubenville that you’ve got up on youtube as I read this whole essay. That closing quote is great.

  • Frank McManus

    I don’t know how to go very deep with folks like Zizek and MacIntyre, but reading this essay I was thinking of Luigi Giussani and the way he talks about Christianity as “event.” (Or more exactly I was recalling something someone said about Giussani in a comment on patheos somewhere.) That moves in the same direction as this, doesn’t it? It’s an “objective reality,” but is also “performance,” that is, it’s perceived, received. And both its reality and its reception are aspects of the same thing; they make it “event.” Among many other things, that means it can never be ideology. Living as a Christian is therefore a participation in that event, not simply living in accordance with a set of ideas, or a system of thought, or a code of law. That’s what I’m getting from this, anyhow.

    Okay, enough of that. I need to go shake my holy ass now. Thanks, Sam.

    • SamRocha

      You got it!

  • arty

    Sam:

    Is there someplace where you (or somebody else) systematically elaborate why thinking Christians ought to pay attention to Zizek? The flagship journal of one of my professional areas is the “Slavic Review,” which recently ran a longish symposium on Zizek, along with a contribution from Zizek himself. Frankly, I found the whole thing so gag-inducingly narcissistic and opaque that it pretty much soured me on the idea of gaining competence in Zizek’s oeuvre. I’m not being anti-intellectual: I know what it takes to gain fluency in the oeuvre of challenging authors. What I want is a convincing argument that the reward at the end will be worth the time invested in the journey.

    • SamRocha

      Hmm… Good question. I have a chapter coming out soon that, I think, get at this a bit. But I didn’t start reading him; I first listened to his lectures on YouTube and sort of got sucked in from there. One thing he does is that he shows how theological illiteracy sours the mind of secular political thinkers. He hates new atheists and postmoderns and multiculturalists and heaves some weighty stones at them. I’m rambling, but I’ll try and think of something more convincing…

  • Guest

    “Oh, we pay for it alright. The profit margin that old Les liked to give away did not come out of thin air.”

    Exactly, it’s an economic exchange.

    “But funny thing- I can only find one tire company around here that charges less. Costco. And you get what you pay for with them- no warranty, no service, tires that are likely to blow before you get out of their massive parking lot.”
    That you get less somewhere else doesn’t change that it’s an economic exchange.

  • Guest

    Yo, did you notice how the protty prioritizes Grace. He begins with Grace? And the Vatican signed that? I know why there is no more protest. The Vatican gave in to the prottys.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    The Vatican is celebrating the END of the protest. I’ve got family involved in the Emergence movement, who are rediscovering the Early Church Fathers- and with them, Catholicism.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    Who ever said it wasn’t? Even sex is an economic exchange, in the long run.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO1ifNaNABY

  • Guest

    “Giving what is not owed” is the central part of the business model.
    You paid and you got what was owed. That you got less at Costco doesn’t change this.

    Do you have amnesia or do you like to keep spinning?

  • Guest

    Right the Vatican is celebrating the end of the protest because it accepted the protest , like compromising on grace and on top of that making it the beginning.
    Stop trying to hustle.

  • Guest

    Here’s a reminder

    “Giving what is not owed” is the central part of the business model.

    Oh, we pay for it alright. The profit margin that old Les liked to give away did not come out of thin air.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    Les didn’t have to give more for the same money. It wasn’t owed. He did so because of his love for mankind.

    Nobody would have faulted him for taking a larger share of the profits, and reducing the value given to customers and labor alike, as you say, that’s the normal way of doing business- all that is ever owed is the minimal. He could have easily gotten by like all the other tire stores do, paying minimum wage and no commissions and charging premium prices for junk because few people know the difference. But he didn’t- because that wouldn’t have been loving, that wouldn’t have been Christian.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    No hustle involved- just watching what is actually going on. We haven’t changed church teaching at all. These groups are joining us because they finally see the fruit of Sola Scriptura is nothing more than moral relativism.

  • SamRocha

    Hmm… Good question. I have a chapter coming out soon that, I think, get at this a bit. But I didn’t start reading him; I first listened to his lectures on YouTube and sort of got sucked in from there. One thing he does is that he shows how theological illiteracy sours the mind of secular political thinkers. He hates new atheists and postmoderns and multiculturalists and heaves some weighty stones at them. I’m rambling, but I’ll try and think of something more convincing…

  • SamRocha

    You got it!


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