instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Both simplicity and beauty

Will Duquette notes the contrary reactions to Pope Francis's Ignatian simplicity of an atheist, who is surprised by a Pope who appears humble and concerned for the poor, and a Catholic, who is distressed by a Pope who appears to denigrate beauty. He is sympathetic to the Catholic's feelings, but mostly he is excited by the opportunity suggested by the atheist's new-found openness:
The Christian faith isn’t a set of propositions to be learned; the Christian faith is a Person to come to know. And it all begins with a bridge of trust.

God is infinite, and so infinitely surprising. This is a good thing, because we are all so bound and determined to see what we expect to see that it takes surprise to catch our notice, so that we can see what’s really there. Those who know the Church only from old movies expect pomp and circumstance and robes and lace and candles and baroque splendor. They do not expect care for the poor and simplicity and humility, even though these have always been part of the Church. And so Francis surprises them with what they do not expect. They think it is new, and unusual; in fact, it is the simply the Stone that the builders rejected. Let’s not tell them that, shall we?

Not until they are curious enough to ask….
Another person, responding to the simplicity v. beauty storyline that's been playing out in these first months of Pope Francis's papacy, asked, "Why does it have to be 'this or that' and not 'this and that'."

My answer is: It is, of course, "this and that." But it's also an example of the very common case of being "this and that" by being "you and me," where you are "this" and I am "that." And perhaps we aren't we both "this and that" so that we can be charitable toward one another, in your accepting my "that" and I your "this."