The Hermeneutic Of Incongruity

Man does not live on bread alone, but from every word issued to another atheist reporter.

In other words, another week, another papal interview with several "What the flock?" quotes?

Before I start, let me stipulate that just like before, if you turn your head 30 degrees to the left and squint, everything the Pope says can be squared with Catholic teaching, as if that still matters anymore.

Let's start off with the biggest "Really?!?!" quote.
"The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old. The old need care and companionship; the young need work and hope but have neither one nor the other, and the problem is they don't even look for them any more. "
Really? The most serious evils afflicting the world? Surely Miley Cyrus should have made the list, no? If not Hannah Montana, then, oh I dunno, millions o' dead babies annually? Maybe them over youth unemployment? I am sure I just failing to understand the context here, again.

It's a joke I tell him. My friends think it is you want to convert me.

He smiles again and replies: "Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us.
To which I tweeted "'Cause Jesus said "Go therefore and make disciples...listen and improve your knowledge of the world around you!"

The Crescat at Patheos (Both noted  for their radical traditionalism, right?) seems to agree when she similarly wrote in response "Ha. Ha. Lulz. You mean this bit of nonsense. — “Go therefore and teach all nations…

I think there is a real danger of confusing proselytism with evangelization.

CCC The missionary mandate. "Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be 'the universal sacrament of salvation,' the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men":339 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age."340

Your Holiness, is there is a single vision of the Good? And who decides what it is?
“Each of us has a vision of good and of evil. We have to encourage people to move towards what they think is Good.”

Again, it can be seen with certain context to be true, but the context is lacking and the takeaway as clear as the truth here is muddied.

But Wait. What if I encourage people to move towards what they think is Good, I might accidentally proselytize. I am so confused. 

And what if my vision of Good over Evil is to tell other people that their unformed notions of Good over evil are irrelevant to the truth? What if my vision of the good is Evangeproselytism?

All so confusing, best just to stay home.

Perhaps the Pope's grand secret vision is that when nobody really knows what the Church teaches anymore and when we stop trying to convert people, suddenly everyone will believe it?

Gotta go now, gotta get on that youth unemployment thing.


  1. oh dear God, make him stop.........please!

  2. I love the clever title of this piece.

    So, Our pope had a pro-sodomite, pro-abortion, Jesus-Denying Rabbi friend staying with him at Sancate Marthae and he has been granting interviews with atheists and confusing the faithful (when he is not personally insulting them) this is really just small potatoes - just wait until his Gang of eight Gelaro-Wearers completely restructures the Church so it is more Synodal; you know, more like the seedbed of heresies and iconoclasm, the orthodox community.

    Our Pope was infamous for his, um, creative "liturgies" (Giant Puppets don'cha'know) and he is humble enough to bring this to the Church at large by completely unleashing the revolutionary dogs of war that were somewhat restrained by the conservatives at V2.

    All of his willful radicalism will be defended by the Biblicism tactic so effectively used by the protestant revolutionaries of the 16th century.

    He will appeal to the New Testament and the then existing structures of the nascent Catholic Church and he will say he is recreating the early days of Christian Communities when the Church was so caring and effective etc etc...

    Biblicism is a most effective tool for leaping back over two thousand years of solid orthodox Catholic Ecclesiological and Ecclesiastical Development to a putative humble and pure church of the poor.

    So what if this new synodal structure will be modeled on the synodalism of the Photian Schismatics; so what if such structures represent a clear repudiation of the Supremacy of The Roman Pontiff as Infallibly taught by Vatican One?

    Our humble Pope's will will be done; the Church will change get with the program or get out of the new wise way.

    He wil prove to be the best recruiter the SSPX has ever had; and please say a prayer for the poor Baron of the Brick By Brick Bund, I have no idea how he will manage to explain these things away

  3. It's not quite as bad as saying "I tell you I don't know the Man," but it's getting there.

  4. It's not quite as bad as saying "I tell you I don't know the Man," but it's getting there.

  5. Poor Pope. I imagine that his Tiara would rocket right off his head, check that, his head would explode if someone reminded him of the Catholic Church's Sacred Congregation of Propaganda.

    You know, I imagine that conservatives would have not cut Reagan this much slack if he had constantly derided America's past even as he praised with purple prose the accomplishments of Communists and sent them letters of support on their May Day Parades but we Catholics have become inured to our Popes praising Mahometans and Buddhists for their "faith" and sending them best wishes for Ramadan and The Festival of Lights and giving a Thumbs-up to the Great Thumb.

    Our Inertia Into Indifferentism has Intensified but the world loves our, YAY us

  6. Proselytism is solemn nonsense ? . St. Vincent Ferrer , pray for us !

  7. Ms. Cyrus and the dead babies can be seen as part of an issue- the issue of young people not being able to get married and properly care for a family. As it becomes increasingly impossible, as it has, to do things 'the right way' Christianity begins to feel like an impossible fairy tale.
    I am not sure what to do with this Pope, and I doubt he is on the same page with me. We will probably just get more LOVE goop and stadium liturgies. But in some ways, there could be hope. What if we got out of the political sphere, started building communities where people could form families, and generally told the secular authorities to go stuff themselves? Nah, you probably will just send your daughter to college to get that lovely sociology degree, or even worse, have her go into H.R. and prevent any self-respecting man from being able to get a job because we can't gab about completely irrelevant drivel for twenty minutes.
    The stuff the Pope says scares me too, but there is a slight possibility he actually has his sights on the real problem. Yes, yes, everything would be better if your young people could just suffer and be holy, but St. Paul was pretty adamant about getting them married- especially young women. In 1st Timothy he mentions something about them being saved through motherhood.
    Meanwhile the baby boomer generation seems to have it's own ideas.

  8. It's like he's trying to imitate Ratzinger's interviews with Vittorio Messori in the 80s and 90s, but these are doing damage.

    "There is no Catholic God." I'll translate that as "God is not a member of the Catholic church and is above all human categories, though He is, nevertheless, catholic, i.e., universal."

    Maybe next interview should be with a believer.

  9. In the latest Somali famine 4.6% of the population died. I think that puts 7% unemployment in perspective.

    Perhaps the pope is trying to deflect criticism of himself as worldly by showing that he knows nothing of the real world.

  10. @ JB "Maybe next interview should be with a believer."

    But he already did an interview with the Jesuits.

    Oh, now I see what you mean.

  11. "What are you reading?"
    "The Pope did another interview with an atheist journalist."
    "What does it say?"
    "Proselytism is solemn nonsense."

    "Heh. What did the Pope say back?"


  12. I like this blog, but the attitude towards and lack of respect for our Holy Father is rather appalling. It seems like some are only too anxious to declare the man a heretic, so much for Christ's prediction in Matt 16. If you want to know what Francis really said, read the interview - in Italian if possible as the English translation is bad. If you want to read more sensible reactions than this you ought to check out:

    Father Z -

    Simcha Fisher -

    Jimmy Akin -

  13. Does no one here grasp the difference between "proselytism" and "evangelization?" Has Pope Francis not reaffirmed time and again the New Evangelization? The need to evangelize the world? Does anyone serious believe he is anti-evangelization?

  14. Nathan. Me. I seriously believe that he is against evangelisation and conversion to the one true Church.

    How many times does he have to say it before he breaks through your denial barrier?

  15. Nathan. Yes, who are we to believe, our own eyes or the spin put on the words of the Pope by the conservative catholic collective?

    Is it your idea the Pope is so dense that he can not communicate to the world?

    please, the Pope knows precisely what he is doing - you just want to deny the reality - not that such a desire is not understandable.

    I mean, who wants to admit that Our Cross is Our Pope?

  16. Here is a response from an Italian native, Nathan.

    Try telling him he doesn't understand what the Pope is saying

  17. Nathan
    Who accused anyone of heresy? Or are you lying on purpose?

  18. Read this paragraph from 'A Doctrinal Note on some Aspects of Evangelisation' by the CDF in 2007. It identifies the approach of Francis as an error.

    "There is today, however, a growing confusion which leads many to leave the missionary command of the Lord unheard and ineffective (cf. Mt 28:19). Often it is maintained that any attempt to convince others on religious matters is a limitation of their freedom. From this perspective, it would only be legitimate to present one's own ideas and to invite people to act according to their consciences, without aiming at their conversion to Christ and to the Catholic faith. It is enough, so they say, to help people to become more human or more faithful to their own religion; it is enough to build communities which strive for justice, freedom, peace and solidarity. Furthermore, some maintain that Christ should not be proclaimed to those who do not know him, nor should joining the Church be promoted, since it would also be possible to be saved without explicit knowledge of Christ and without formal incorporation in the Church."

  19. This site is getting to be quite humorous as self-professed "devout" Catholics begin hysterically hyperventilating over the latest Papal utterance. Even if the worst possible interpretation is true, so what? Christ promised His Church would prevail against the very gates of Hell. The man cannot utter falsehood when he speaks from the See of Peter, We'll all be judged by God on our own individual conduct. Therefore I really fail to see what benefit is derived from agonizing over what the Pontiff may/may not have meant.

    Living my own life in accordance with the Catechism to the best of my ability seems more important. In closing I recommend a review of Articles 2477 & 2478 of that tome. Cheers!

  20. This site is getting to be quite humorous as self-professed "devout" Catholics begin hysterically hyperventilating over the latest Papal utterance. Even if the worst possible interpretation is true, so what? Christ promised His Church would prevail against the very gates of Hell. The man cannot utter falsehood when he speaks from the See of Peter, We'll all be judged by God on our own individual conduct. Therefore I really fail to see what benefit is derived from agonizing over what the Pontiff may/may not have meant.

    Living my own life in accordance with the Catechism to the best of my ability seems more important. In closing I recommend a review of Articles 2477 & 2478 of that tome. Cheers!

  21. The Pope has certainly created jobs. Many are employed in defending his stream-of-consciousness interviews. It seems they will be busy for the forseeable future.

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  25. Americans are probably unaware of rampant problem of youth unemployment in Southern Europe, where it reaches 30, 40, 50% rates (not 7%). Can you imagine the moral and social destruction that massive youth unemployment (and underemployment) brings?

  26. HPA, can you imagine how much more damage the loss of thier souls will be? The Church is about Salvation in Christ Jesus, not societal cause-de-jure. Please God, give us Holy, Orthodox Bishops and Priests.


  27. There's really no more spinning to be done. It's very clear how and what he thinks. We were spoiled with two great minds over the last 35 years and came to be used to that. Now we have something entirely different. I suggest we keep all focus on Christ, the saints, and the Catechism and not so much on Francis's bi weekly interviews.

  28. I think youth unemployment IS one of the worst problems in the world -- remember, he's talking about the whole world. We are lucky here in the USA, but it's huge in parts of Europe and simply immense in many parts of the world. What are young people supposed to do if they can't work? And the loneliness of the elderly IS a terrible problem, one that is goign to get a lot worse for the developed world because it is rapidly aging, with much smaller cohorts below them. It may not seem bad now but wait 20 years... Loneliness is a poverty, and a very terrible one.

  29. As I've commented before, I think the Pope is interacting with the world in a purely (and obviously) Rogerian way. Look it up.

    One of the problems with presenting Catholicism in a Rogerian way (there has to be a problem, Rogerianism is not a philosophy born within or blessed by the Church) is that once Catholicism is passed through the relativist sausage grinder of Rogerianism, what comes out the other side is still difficult, but has no value, and sounds more like a disadvantage.

    To be blunt, what we objected to "back in the day" about nuns and priests using Rogerian methods was that it resulted in a theology in which it was a disadvantage to be a Catholic. Everyone else got a pass, the opportunity to follow their own conscience without mortal sin, except Catholics.

    Pope Francis, being a Rogerian, is doing the same. Nothing is said about any advantage of being in the Church. Nothing about sacramental graces. Instead, it seems a dicey proposition at best. Anybody can find God in the world by just being friendly and feeling the brotherhood of man, except Roman Catholics. Especially American Roman Catholics. Especially especially Traditional American Roman Catholics.

    The nuns and priests, using Rogerian methods, who used to teach us their version of theology pretty much thought everyone was saved except Catholics, because only Catholics were in danger of judgementalism. I'm getting the exact same vibe from Francis.

  30. JB said:

    ""There's really no more spinning to be done.""

    Someone, a genius, posted on another blog right after the election of Francis, "For sale, one set of 'brick by brick' coffee mugs, barely used." That man is smarter than all of us. He knew.

  31. The joy of squinting.

    "They are no where near Baghdad! This is silly!" hahahaha
    -Mohammed Said al-Sahhaf. (Iraqi Information Minister)

    "Convert you? Proselytism is solemn nonsense. You have to meet people and listen to them." hahahaha
    Pope Awesome the 1st

    "I dare say that the Church has never been in such good health as it is today." hahahaha
    Pope Awesome the 1st

  32. Capt. Morgan: that's what I'm talking about. Youth unemployment can ruin lives and can easily lead to losing one's soul. If you are 25, have no job nor prospects of finding one with 40% youth unemployment rates (and 15-20% general unemployment rates), what do you do? It's very very difficult to keep one's spiritual (and mental) health in such a trial.

    Should the Church keep silent and pretend the problem doesn't exist? I don't think so. Perhaps some people here object to "Rerum Novarum" or to "Quadragesimo Anno".

  33. conservative catholics have pushed millions of catholics out of the church - pushed people to turn away from God..Souls that are destined to damnation. Conservatives never take responsibility for "killing" souls with their righteousness .Pope Francis has had it with the bullies in the sandbox. There is a new sheriff in town,,

  34. Stephen, you're gossiping! Didn't you just read Francis's vicious condemnations of gossiping and detraction?? Shame on you. Besides which, your comment is inane.

  35. Massive youth unemployment. Massive lonely old people.

    Massive murder of unborn children.


  36. to gretchen.. what of the mass "murder" of souls who are damned.. Damned because of "obsessive" people turning the Catholic faith into a one trick pony.
    Did it ever occur to you that we need to bring people back to the church first in order to change the culture. This idea is lost on so many people. Thank God Pope Francis gets it.

  37. Are you for real? You are saying "conservative" Catholics are responsible for the mass "murder of souls"? What is the "one trick pony"? Opposition to abortion? Even if that were true, and it's patently false, how would equate to the "mass murder of souls."?

    If this is the kind of defense Bergoglio is going to generate it's going to be a very long silly season again.

  38. Stephen, if there are any 'obsessive' people turning the Catholic faith into a one trick pony, it is the LOVE crowd. They say all you need is love because they are unlike every other generation, and they refuse to invest in their children. Parents used to determine what farmland, what assets, etc- would go to a new couple so that they could engage in productive labor and raise a family. Now we have dowries of debt, and we also have the Eucharistic Minister circus, which actually takes longer than the old way, and it is ridiculous. At what point can the young righteously claim that they don't know what you gave them, but you didn't give them the Church? Already I can't bear to pledge allegiance to or even see a flag, because I know the nation is dead. It is akin to hearing a family member go on and on about how grandmother is still alive. The Church ain't doing to good either. I hope the Pope knows what he is doing, but I suspect real change is local. The best he can do is decentralize, really.

  39. To August...I agree with many of your points..Particularly your concern for young people not knowing the church and obsessed with materialism .The only "crowd" that matters to me is the one inside the Church..I am not sure about this "love" crowd you speak of..

  40. The people who screw up the liturgy and can't catechize to save a life. The homilies are filled with how much Jesus loves me just the way I am, which is a relief because, apparently, that means I can stay home on Sunday morning and just avoid the mega-dose of syrup. By declaring nothing profane, they make it rather hard to experience the sacred.

  41. Jonathan, thanks for posting that CDF doctrinal note upthread. I blogged it here:

  42. Well, Stephen, at least those who were graced to have been born have the opportunity to repent and gain heaven. Imagine the crushed souls of those who urge their girlfriends, daughters, and wives to abort their babies. If abortion were illegal, most of them would probably not have that sin on their souls.

    You see, killing innocent unborn babies leads to loneliness, don't you think? A child that might have been there to comfort and keep company with an elderly mother or father is not there.

    Bringing people to the Church who believe in and indulge in abortion, contraception, and so on, is not the way to save souls. The pews are full of such people. Are they any safer in their willful ignorance and disobedience than the average atheist?

  43. Oh great, Obama loves the pope, especially his comments on abortion.

    I'm sorry but this is bad, really bad. Like antichrist around the corner bad. there i said it.

  44. To Gretchen.."The pews are full of such people" From you it sounds like there is more house cleaning is in order, You seem determined to rid the Church of more scoundrels. The Pope, the Holy See a descendant of Peter, seems to embody everything that you protest...Very troubling


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