Friday, April 22, 2016

I Give Up


No, I'm not giving up blogging. But I am giving up making any effort to comment or follow the developments of the current pontificate. Not that I had really been keeping up that much anyway; I reject - at least personally - the identity of a quasi-professional commentator who basically ties himself to current events and feeds his readership a never-ending digest of his "take" on what's going on. Honestly, reading about Iron Age ruins in Palestine or 6th century Irish saints is much more interesting and edifying to me than dwelling on what could possibly be going on in the mind of our current Roman Pontiff.

I had offered some commentary though - and I am still sludging through working an eBook on Laudato Si. But, man, I give up. Amoris Laetitia? Haven't read it. Not planning on it. Maybe someday when I'm like, extra bored or feel like punishing myself. Latest papal interviews? Haven't followed them. Probably won't. Speculating about papabile or the "next moves" of Francis or whatever...I don't care.

Well, I mean, I do care in the objective sense - but its too much, I'm too busy, and honestly, none of this stuff concerns my faith in any substantial manner. Some people are terribly scandalized by all of it; some I know have gone over to Sedevacantism or converted to Orthodoxy. I don't know...it doesn't really bother me in a sense that touches on my faith. Perhaps I am too much a student of Church history to be deceived into thinking any higher of the Church's human element than it merits. How would you feel if you were alive in the 10th century and witnessed Pope John XII offering a toast to the devil? Or witnessed the Cadaver Synod? Yeah, it sucks. I know. But my faith was never in the human perfection of the Roman Pontiff anyway.

And - as I have continued to study the obscure saints of the Church, like when I was working on the book about St. Columba - it amazed me the degree to which what went on in Rome was completely, absolutely irrelevant to the lives of these holy men and women. Indeed, many saints in the most distant regions of Christendom were not even aware of who the pontiff is. I have read many stories of travelers from Rome coming to far-off places and the bishops there saying, "You're from Rome? Tell me, who is pope now?" and then finding out that two or three popes have come and gone without their knowledge.

One final thing -it is ironic to me that it was easier being a Traditional blogger when we had a quasi-traditional pope (I say quasi-traditional because Benedict XVI was never a Traditionalist in any meaningful sense - he is a Teilhardian who has a sentimental, nostalgic affection for the Latin Mass). Why would it be easier to complain under a tradition-friendly pope? Not that the essence of Traditionalism is complaining, of course, but the fact is to the degree that we do "complain", it is easier to do when you perceive that the man in power is amenable to your critiques; you feel like there is a chance that someone may listen, and ultimately you have the consolation of knowing that he, to some degree, has got your back, at least in theory.

But when the guy in charge has absolutely zero interest in your concerns - and indeed, when it is questionable whether he even shares the most basic theological and philosophical assumptions as historic Catholicism - there is a strong sense of "Why bother?"

So, no I am not giving up blogging. But I'm giving up trying to keep up with this pontificate. I am a Catholic; I love the papacy. In fact, it was the study of the Petrine Primacy that led me back to the Church fourteen years ago. But never has a papacy been so irrelevant to my faith as this one. I have enough to worry about in my own spiritual life.

23 comments:

DJR said...

D'accord.

In the early ages of the Church, there have been some pontificates that were so short, and several in succession, that the Catholics in, say, India did not even know who the popes were until after the popes had already died.

The idea of hanging on every thing/word a pope does is a modern phenomenon.

Tradical said...

Agreed.

Beside, Pope Francis et al generate so much material that it would be a take days to analyse and provide cogent commentary. By that time, five or more new items would be on the list.

Better to skip over the pile and look at the principles to help others make good decisions about the challenges to their eternal salvation.

P^3

Victimae Paschali Laudes said...

Following what Francis says is a gigantic waste of time and will only create damage to your mental health.

I am Anti said...

Welcome to the club. I stopped reading many Catholic webpages a long time ago because of their obsession with the papacy. I don't care about the Popes. They come and go; they say things. I have my own life and God to busy with. Not that I'm doing a very good job at it.

Boniface, your posts have always been more interesting when they're reflections on holy scripture and historical matters, or suggesting a new perspective on a teaching. I'm glad to read that you will stop wasting your time on irrelevant things.

Anna Elissa said...

I like the tag. "Stupid stupid stupid" :D

Anonymous said...

It seems you have Francis fatigue. Its understandable. But please don't stop commenting on Pope Francis' interviews or other statements. Pope Francis and his supporters (official and not) won't care what you have to say, but you never know who might be reading your blog, and who's perspective you might influence. There are probably many people, mostly non-Catholics, who incorrectly believe that everything any Pope says is dogma. People like you need to correct that record.

Ever mindful said...

Thank you for a very helpful post...

For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].

Philippians 4:8

Deus Vult said...

I agree that it's easier to be a Roman Catholic when you study the saints and the Church and ignore the Pope when he is a poor teacher of the Faith.

I used to be upset and scandalized by this Pontificate...now it's just a matter of "well he is wrong and he is spouting heresy...but I won't let it get me down." All we can do is assure those Catholics who are being scandalized, by correcting the errors His Holiness has said or written, and then comfort the scandalized faithful by pointing to the litany of bad prior pontificates.

spraffmeister said...

Hear, hear!

I think the current situation is the papacy of St. JPII taken to its logical conclusion. One might even argue it's the logical progression of ultramontane tendencies from the 19th century. Whatever is the case, I already feel suitably remote from the gossip and goings-on of Rome. Having seen and escaped the relatively benign beast that is my local diocese, I don't care to find out what's going on in more important places. Give me study of the lives and writings of the saints any day.

Saint Donnan of Eigg and Maelrubha of Applecross, pray for us and grant us some of your obscurity!

Alexander said...

I really don't see much difference between him and JPII when it comes to bad actions and statements, it just manifests in different ways. If you really do your research you will see what I mean. With JPII it wasn't in your face instantly and a lot of it you never hear about due to the lack of internet (or widespread usage), social media, thousands of interviews, etc., a lot of it got buried.

Nothing new under the post-conciliar sun.

Thomas Redle said...

The problem is that this exhortation is going to go into practice at the local level. These just arn't crazy words of a crazy Pope. Open and approved sacerledge is coming to a Church near you! Who knows, priests may be excommunicated by their local Bishops for not letting public adulterers receive Communion. The faithful Bishops need to start resisting so that does not happen.

philipjohnson said...

Don't stop blogging!Keep going-Divine Providence will take care of his humbleness in due time.

Amateur Brain Surgeon said...

Dear Boniface. Reconsider your decision for most of what Franciscus says drives me to drink and ABS likes to thank him for the lift.

Janice Harder said...

Thank you! I'm tired of the constant chatter about how disturbed people are about this pontificate. It seems the larger question should be, "Am I doing what I should be doing?" Most of the time, unfortunately, the answer is, "NO!"

William Axton said...

Many good comments here. Timely input from the brethren.

I must confess to being guilty of posting a fair bit on the current pontificate, though meta-analysis is part of my thing. I understand and share the weariness. Recently, I have tried to shift my focus away from papal current events to the transcendentals (truth, goodness and beauty) which have informed the Church's art, literature, music, architecture, etc.

Peace to all.

Anonymous said...

So you're for a healthy decentralization? :-)

therealDymphna said...

I get it. I really do, but I'm not sure if you, as a gifted teacher and apologist, can really back out of this caper. You have a little more responsibility than the average "joe". Primarily because God has gifted you with a voice that carries weight. You have a blog that is a treasure for those searching to make sense of this crazy upside-down world. I'm not saying that you should comment on every papal blunder, but a little plain speak on what we are witnessing would be much appreciated. As distasteful as it may be, it would be a cracking good penance for you and it would be helpful to those who are really searching for perspective in all this. Anyway, carry on the good work. God bless!

Boniface said...

^^Awww. Thank you Dymphna.

Marko Ivančičević said...

Subscribing to every word. Obsessing over Francis leads to taking pills...

Grace Singh said...

Just a small comment.... I'm not even Catholic (churchless follower of Christ), and I don't really read blogs, but I find this blog agreeable, fascinating, well-written, learned, and thought-provoking. If our desire is to follow Christ, well, Rome is going to change. The Pontiff is going to say and do things he ought not to, but Truth, who became flesh, never changes. Protestant churches will continue to mangle basics like salvation and most will likely accept more and more sin as God-given as our society gets more and more selfish, Godless, and dark. That's just what's going to happen. I can definitely relate to your desire to just (in a manner of speaking) flee away to the desert and not concern yourself too much with Rome. Maybe you have a point. Not to cease being Catholic, obviously, but to be more of a Catholic wedded to Christ, not giving undue attention to a man who seems to be deeply in error and unconcerned with Truth.

Mark Citadel said...

This seems like a good approach to take. I know our Patriarchs are not seen in the same way as the Pope, but we certainly do not obsess over the oafish statements of Patriarch Bartholomew for example.

Anonymous said...

I was raised a Presbyterian but joined the Roman Catholic Church at age 18 a few years prior to Vatican II. By the grace of God, the Catholic parish that I attended was a Polish one (I'm not Polish) where the faith was so central to the people that I was blessed to learn, to know, to love, and to serve God as the Church had always taught.

When the Novus Ordo was implemented, I had moved to another state and the parish I attended was not one where the faith was central to the people so it was fairly well accepted. However, in the depths of my soul I felt it was an abomination. In the pursuing years, with the election of new popes and more implementation of the novelties of Vatican II, I no longer believed this was the same Church and stopped attending any Novus Ordo service as I felt I was participating in a sacrilege and an abomination. I finally found a place that the true faith was still believed and practiced but only one run by sedevacantists. Still, the true faith and practicing it is my only desire. God will be the judge. If He sends me to Hell for believing what was thought to be His true revelations prior to Vatican II, I deserve to go there.

Anonymous said...

I say this in all due respect without any sarcasm.
My problem with the novus ordo isn't the "pope" or his personality.
The changes made to the Sacraments,the immemorial mass of all ages being replaced,the doubtful rite of holy orders becoming mandatory,various Vatican 2 documents,holy communion fast no longer after midnight,etc..Its a new religion,its not Catholicism pre-1950.