Pope Francis describes ‘ideological Christians’ as a ‘serious illness’ within the Church (RawStory.com)

Speaking at daily Mass last Thursday, Pope Francis warned Christians against turning their faith into a rigid ideology.

“The faith passes, so to speak, through a distiller and becomes ideology,” he said, according to Radio Vatican. “And ideology does not beckon [people]. In ideologies there is not Jesus: in his tenderness, his love, his meekness. And ideologies are rigid, always. Of every sign: rigid.

“And when a Christian becomes a disciple of the ideology, he has lost the faith: he is no longer a disciple of Jesus, he is a disciple of this attitude of thought… For this reason Jesus said to them: ‘You have taken away the key of knowledge.’ The knowledge of Jesus is transformed into an ideological and also moralistic knowledge, because these close the door with many requirements.”

Read the rest here.


So ... does the tiger propose to change its own stripes?  Check me on this, but if the RCC has been about nothing else, it has been about IDEOLOGY, about dogma, about doctrine and the diktat of the bible, never mind the bullshit it has invented on its own, independent of any other putative "holy text."  Indeed, Francis' recent predecessors (Paul VI, JPII, Benedict) were ideologues, plain and simple, and that same ideology gets reflected in people like Rick Santorum, who would turn Washington, DC into Vatican City West, given a chance.  Is catholicism supposed to all of a sudden completely reinvent itself, based on "true prayer," as Francis suggests?  If so, then they are substituting one brand of snake oil for another.

The sad fact is that, if the catholic church wishes to abandon or deemphasize its own ideology, it might as well tell its people to take the rest of this century off and ask the last guy leaving to turn off the lights.

Without their ideology, their party is over ... and just as well.

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The Oxford dictionary defines ideology as a system of ideas and ideals forming the basis of an economic or political theory.

Faith is defined as strong belief in a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.

What does “The faith passes, so to speak, through a distiller and becomes ideology,” mean ?

What he says is clearly based on a belief in the supernatural and the myth of Jesus of Nazareth. It is just more bullshit for Catholics.

Tell me something I don't know.

Let's face it, you can't talk rationally about an irrational subject.  And that's the hurdle the pope and all other religious people encounter when trying to explain their beliefs. 

The pope can try all he wants to change attitudes, but the dogma those attitudes are based on remains the same.  So what do you do?  You either progress socially forward and ignore the dogma, or you just plain get rid of the dogma.  If you do the latter, you dismantle the core values of the church and render it useless. 

And ideology does not beckon [people].
-- Pope Francis

I reread that line this morning and realized that Francis is utterly wrong here.  Ideology DOES "beckon" people.  The problem is that it beckons the wrong kind of people.  Ideology quite tautologically draws ideologists, in particular those kinds of people who long to be right when everyone else is wrong, who long to lord the superiority they associate with that status over others ... and very likely, make money and/or gain power with their presumptive position as well.  It doesn't take a lot of thought to recognize those who follow this school of thought.  Santorum I mentioned before.  Add to him glad-hander Timothy Cardinal Dolan and  Bill Donahue of the Catholic League, and these are just the obvious choices in the catholic realm.  Every grifter who ever sought to make a buck off wearing a priest's collar is a member of this club as well, along with all the familiar names in evangelical christianity, from Robertson to Hagee to Osteen.

And for all the meek- and mildness that Francis wants to ascribe to his favorite carpenter, it cannot be denied that Jesus dealt in ideology:

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
-- John 14:6

If that isn't an absolute statement reflecting an equally absolute ideology, I'll eat my hat.  Francis has bitten off more than he can chew with this one ... and presuming he wants to pursue this train of thought, the fallout is going to be very interesting, indeed.

damn, you beat me to this one Loren.  i was going to post it yesterday and forgot. 

then again, when i post discussions on Pope Frankie most people don't comment.  thing is, i like this guy.  i like him a lot.  how can you not?  a Pope that Bill Maher thinks is an Atheist?  a Pope who says Atheists can get into heaven (who cares, i know)?  a Pope who said ideology is a sickness? 

Maher may be right. 

Part of Francis' "being likable" I suspect is that he's outside of the European tradition, where even Ratzinger and Wojtyla came from.  He's not used to the pomp and circumstance of Vatican City or the BS that they deal in on a daily basis.  He's far more accustomed to the everyday life of the average catholic in Argentina, certainly with the ceremony which the RC church seems to be addicted to, but at nowhere near the level found at the center of the Holy See.  I suspect he wants to be more about steak than sizzle, and for that he may be due a degree of respect.

But his organization remains what it has been for the past two millennia, and he is still married to too many of its principles, among them the multiple sanctions against women and women's rights.  He may think he's ahead of the curve, and from a catholic point of view, he may be, but he remains way behind OUR curve.  If he eventually had the guts to dismantle the hierarchy, the wealth, the overarching influence of the church and do as Morris West suggested in his novel, The Shoes of the Fisherman: use that largess to solve problems of poverty and disempowerment, then maybe I could endorse him without reservation.  Frankly, I don't think Jorge or anyone else in the church has the brass balls to do something like that.

The RC church is too in love with itself and too covetous of its influence and power to even tolerate such a proposal at this juncture.  When it does fall apart, my suspicion is that its demise will be neither orderly nor very pretty.  Whether one man could prevent such a precipitous denouement and focus the power of such an organization in a positive direction or not, I don't know.

I think it highly unlikely, though.

i have a feeling the RCC will be around for a long time to come.  and Frankie will be in charge for a very long time.  long enough perhaps to make fundamental reforms.  it won't change over night, and i really don't care if they change or collapse, but in the end i'm betting on change. 

Call me cynical, but I'm not a fan of Frankie the Gaucho. I think what's he's doing is trying to put a "human face" on the inhumanity of the RCC. Lipstick on a pig, as it were. After the black eye the RCC got with the world wide revelation of institutionalized child rape and torture, they needed to do a re-branding of their image. Enter Jorge Mario Bergoglio, under the nom de guerre Pope Francis. After all, who doesn't like Francis of Assisi, with all the cute fuzzy animals and pretty birds around him. 

Here's what Bergoglio had to say about the legalization of gay marriage in Argentina before he changed zip codes and moved into the Vatican.

In the coming weeks, the Argentine people will face a situation whose outcome can seriously harm the family...At stake is the identity and survival of the family: father, mother and children. At stake are the lives of many children who will be discriminated against in advance, and deprived of their human development given by a father and a mother and willed by God. At stake is the total rejection of God's law engraved in our hearts.

Let's not be naive: This is not a simple political fight; it is a destructive proposal to God's plan. This is not a mere legislative proposal (that's just its form), but a move by the father of lies that seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God... Let's look to St. Joseph, Mary, and the Child to ask fervently that they defend the Argentine family in this moment... May they support, defend, and accompany us in this war of God.

Nothing like a "destructive proposal to God's plan" or a "war of God" to engender feelings of empathy, compassion, humanity, and brotherhood to our fellow humans. You betcha! (in the words of another despicable religionist). A hangman can dress up as Mahatma Gandhi all he wants, but in the end, he's still an executioner.

It also shows that he is as much an ideologue as the rest of his clique, despite his statement as reported in the article above, at least as it comes to the pivot points which the RC church leans on most.  In his own way, he's doing much the same thing that Timmy Dolan is: trying to glad-hand his way around the dogma and doctrine which are the warp and woof of the church while disavowing none of it.

As I said before, he's still behind the curve, and so long as he is, he's not helping matters.

As I look into my crystal ball, I see the following future scenario:

Much like Martin Luther spearheaded a break-off faction from the Catholic Church, I see at some point in the future a liberal/progressive faction of Catholics breaking off from the mother church.  Francis won't be leading this faction because he's stuck leading the conservative mother church (if this break-off even occurs during his tenure.)  I think the RCC will always be around, but with different sects, much like the Protestants.   

The catholic church already fractured once, back in the 16th century, when Martin Luther published his Ninety-Five Theses and Protestantism was born.  The only good thing about that incident is that it weakened the church and may have contributed to the Renaissance.  Further such splits will very likely have the same effect, and I don't discount the possibility of their occurrence, especially with the current problems the church is experiencing and, so far, failing to fully address.

If the RC church dies the death-of-a-thousand-cuts, I won't grieve, except for those who suffered under its misguided leadership.  However it dies, its demise and that of its spawn cannot come soon enough for me.


now this is fun, and predictable.  devoutly religious people openly calling out the Pope.  my favorite quote:

"this man needs to read his Bible."

um, he's the Pope, i have a feeling he's more than skimmed the surface. 




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