Wednesday, May 14, 2014

False Dichotomes Between Faith And Intellect, Being Joyful And Being Serious

In his morning homily yesterday the Holy Father described what he believes are two groups into which humanity can be classed.  One group is those open to the Holy Spirit and docile to His movements, who move by faith.  The second group puzzles me a bit.  While he says they are obtuse to God, he says they are so because "everything was about the mind, the love of beauty, no harmony".

I know some folks who are quite hostile to God.  Trust me when I say that their hostility to God has nothing at all to do with their intellects.  More often than not, their sensuality has deadened not only faith but any intellectual prowess they might have had.  It is Our Lady of Fatima herself who told the three children that more souls go to hell due to sins of the flesh more than anything else; I would assume that includes any intellectual pride.

Since when are "intellect" and "openness to the Holy Spirit" mutually exclusive as the Pope seems to be implying?  Since we are created in the image and likeness of God primarily through intellect and will, I would think that there is no "openness to the Holy Spirit" without some modicum of intellectual rigor.  I would think that there can be no real "love of beauty" without a sound intellect to inform us of the nature of true beauty.

He then said, "when there is a lot of seriousness, the spirit of God is lacking".  What does that mean?  Since when does a serious outlook preclude the presence of the Spirit of God?  I might think that the Spirit of God might bring about a more serious outlook on life and the eternal realities surrounding us.  True joy and seriousness are not mutually contradictory.  That assumes we understand that real joy has nothing to do with posing in selfies while wearing clown noses.  Our Lord Himself always displayed the fruits of the Spirit, did He not?  Does that include the time known as His Passion?  I would think so.

These artificial dichotomies that appear in the Pope's remarks seem confusing and divisive rather than helpful.


  1. I've had a lot of discussions with non-Catholics on the internet. We are accused of worshiping statues and repeating prayers etc. When I tell them that we do not worship the plaster likeness and the rosary is a mediation on the life of Christ, they always say, "I see Catholics that do this ALL the time"
    Then I tell them that what they "see" makes no difference. The truth is in the intention and they cannot read the hearts of another person. To condemn a person by another's human's perception is a form of pride.
    I'm tired of my prayer life being constantly judged because I don't follow the tenants of Charismatic worship. My devotions look silent and solemn. But the same man who said "Who am I to judge?" the heart of a fellow human, has no problem with judging me because I don't get into "feel good" emotionally self satisfying worship.

  2. I think what the Pope meant was not to take yourself too seriously. Plus, a lot of times when people are too serious, they are overly-scrupulous, in an unhealthy manner, and that is not good to the spiritual life. I think he was trying to say to have balance, which is always the answer in the spiritual life.

    With regard to the "Who am I to judge?" comment, Father Mitch Pacwa said he was talking about a specific priest in that situation. The priest had been homosexual, or at least had fallen into that temptation, and then repented. The Pope was saying, "Who am I to judge if someone repents?" basically.

    With that said, you have a great point with regard to the Church at large. The big problem is that many Catholics do not take their faith seriously enough today. It is strange that you should bring this topic up, because I was reading something that disturbed me just yesterday. Lots of Catholics were saying how boring EWTN was, and how they should have more entertainment related shows. Some people were even saying that they should have a show called, "What Not to Wear at Mass," which would make fun of all the insane liturgical vestments worn by liberal priests oftentimes. Yes, they think it would be funny, but what kind of message would that send? If you ask me, most people (Catholics included) are far less serious than they should be these days. This is largely due to the entertainment obsessed culture, which even EWTN has fallen into in recent years--but, thank God, not as much as the other networks. Of course, that would all change if these people had their way. Sheesh!


  3. In posting my above comment, I did forget to mention one thing. As Fr. Mitch Pacwa has often said, the Pope has been misquoted over and over, and orthodox things he has said have been omitted by the media. However, I do feel that he should be more careful about the way he puts things. I believe that he is holy, and that a fall-out like this is not his intention, but to see something like this come from his words is really sad.

    Let's pray for him to become more "Sly as a serpent and innocent as a dove," with the drive-by media.



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