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Gary Wills Insists Pope is Irrelevant

This is hilarious in the way that the crying on the inside kind of clown is hilarious. So, kinda' sad actually.

Gary Wills, the media's favorite self described Catholic that attacks the Church every chance he's within shouting distance of a microphone or a journalist, is going after the pope. Again.

It's kind of ironic that in a week that has seen worldwide coverage of a chimney for days on end and a flowering of support for the humble acts of Pope Francis, Wills insists the pope is irrelevant. Wills is increasingly seeming like the guy with the cardboard sign predicting doom for us all on a certain date. But the sign reached its expiration date years ago and the doom is nowhere to be seen. So the sign guy just keeps getting louder and louder.

In an interview with atheist Sally Quinn at the On Faith blog, Wills insists that the papacy and the Church are irrelevant.

Quinn: “Do you think that the papacy, well, it certainly is not irrelevant to a lot of people now, but do you think it’s headed in that direction?”

Wills: “Yeah, it is irrelevant to a lot of people and becoming more so, even to people who don’t even recognize it. One of the reasons they don’t recognize it, is that the priests … the bishops have to uphold what Rome says or they’ll get their knuckles rapped, and priests have to agree not to go against what Rome says. But they don’t actually preach what Rome says.

“I’ve asked many, many Catholics, ‘When’s the last time you had a priest in the pulpit preach against contraception?’ And they say, ‘never.’ There are other practices that are just falling out of use without even people … people, for instance, will not say that they deny transubstantiation, but in fact, the usage says that.

“For instance, when I was young, we used to have frequent benediction, that is, the host would be put in a great big display case called a monstrance, and people would come in and incense it and kneel and pray to it for a half hour or so, worshipping God and the host. Well, we don’t do that anymore, simply because it’s, people don’t really believe that anymore.”
This kind of myopic thinking from Wills is endearing in a way. You know how when little children put their hands over their eyes they think the world has gone away. Later they realize that's just their perception. Wills hasn't had that realization yet. Wills thinks because he doesn't go to adoration it doesn't happen. I was just at adoration recently. And there were plenty of people there.

And about contraception. You have to love this argumentation. Many argue that the pope is responsible for the death of millions in African and other places because of the Church's stringent rules about contraception and then these same people turn around and argue that the pope is completely irrelevant. It seems to me you have to pick one.

What Gary Wills means is that the Church and the pope are irrelevant to him and so he universalizes his own perception.


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Scott W. said...

As Chris Johnson remarked of Gene Robinson once, he can smell a functioning camera from three states away.

owen swain said...

Fr. Robert Barron in his usual gracious yet thorough and straightforward manner debunks Will's book of nonsense here.

Liz said...

I wish Gary Wills would come to my parish. There he would find people every single Friday doing what he says we don't do anymore. I wish he could see the young people I know who attend adoration regularly. I wish he could talk with young couples like my daughter and her husband and their friends who do abide by the Church's teaching about contraception. Of course, Gary Wills doesn't spend time around those sorts of Catholics. More's the pity, those are well educated, thinking Catholics, who actually understand their faith. Spending time with them might cause him to change his mind.

tuleesh said...

owen swain@ 4:52 PM

Indeed! Fr. Barron "Penn-Jillette'd" Wills in that video.

Fr. Barron is a class act. G-d protect him.

philomena said...

Maybe Mr. Wills should learn exactly what the Catholic church teaches about the role of the Pope, and what the purpose of a homily actually is. He argues that because so many people never (pretty strong word, that) hear the church's teaching about contraception from the pulpit, the teaching therefore is irrelevant. In this digital age, one cannot use "I don't know what the Church actually teaches because my priest doesn't preach it" as an argument. Simply log on to any number of online resources that publish the Catechism of the Catholic Church, to find out the truth for yourself.

I thought the way Stephen Colbert took Mr. Wills to task for his weakly-reasoned opinions on a recent episode of The Colbert Report was priceless.

Lori said...

Oh yeah, the papacy is soooooo irrelevant that each and every TV network has to keep their cameras trained in a 24/7 watch to learn when a Pope is elected.

Right. Totally irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Were the Papacy irrelevant, imagine how much more so an ex-seminarian dissenter & heretic. This idiot reminds me of people who jump in front of a TV camera whilst filming some significant event.

Proteios1 said...

Wills is a kid who cries when you try to console him, then stops when no one is,looking. Like my three yr old. If I may distill out a few key points, however, I would like more homilies on contraception, etc. I would like more hours of adoration. I would like more faithfulness to the Pope from me, my fellow parishioners, priests, bishops, etc. (and this is situational, as there are so many wonderfully devoted people at all levels of thenChurch hierarchy). So I agree with some of those sentiments and would add my own. But the reason many of us want a move toward tradition and orthodoxy is because the Pope is extremely relevant. The Magesterium of the Church is absolutely relevant and salvation is only comes through Christ and the Church Christ put in place to accomplish this.

Jonathan said...

I think Wills is correct. For every parish fortunate enough to have adoration there will be a dozen where they have lay led Eucharistic Services instead of Mass, divorced and remarried 'Eucharistic Ministers' and priests who don't believe in the Church's moral teachings. Catholics divorce and abort at the same rate as pagans. If you downplay the problem you will stifle the zeal we need to solve it.
The Pope encourages priests to be more liberal in performing baptisms but he will just create a new generation of Wills who feel entitled to call themselves Catholic while attacking the tenets of the Faith.

Steve "scotju" Dalton said...

An institution (the Church) that has been around for nearly 2000 years is 'irrelevant'. Wills, who has been around only about 60 years is relevant. (?) I'll place my bets on the 2000year old horse before I'll wager on a 60year old pony!

Ranting Catholic Mom said...

And the Popes response should be--- I know you are but what am I?

Really never even heard of Gary Willis. Who is he?

Mary De Voe said...

The Pope is the Servant of the Servants of God. People are entitled to the truth of the Faith. Garry Wills denies the person his soul, so the person no longer needs the truth or God or Faith. Garry Wills may deny the human being's immortal soul, that rational part of man, but Garry Wills is still rather silly making believe that he is our Creator.

hank_F_M said...

Ii charity, I think we should admit that Dr. WIlls has a certain expertise in Irrelevance.

Bill Meyer said...

The too obvious rejoinder, of course, is that it is Mr. Wills who is irrelevant. And with him, all those who profess to be members of the Church, yet insist that it be a democratic institution of secular fads.

Anonymous said...

A few weeks I attended a Catholic Youth Conference in Georgia. Mr. Wills may have been astonished to observe 300+ teenagers participating in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Reconciliation. Our Bishop was in attendance and stated the teenagers preached the greatest homily by their witness.

JoshD said...

I just had Confessions for our youth at our parish for Lent. I had teenagers and catechists get upset at me that we didn't have Adoration during the Confessions, like we did during Advent, and like they do on every retreat.

Maybe I should've just told them no one believes in it, or goes anymore ;-)

Abelard Lindsay said...

"What Gary Wills means is that the Church and the pope are irrelevant to him and so he universalizes his own perception."


Anonymous said...

A Fool and Her Tool. Both are babbling bastions of buffoonery.

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