instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Joy of Punditry

This is my own little contribution to the attempt by half the people alive who are aware of the Pope's exhortation to explain to the other half what it's all about.

A particularly difficult passage is found in n. 94:
This worldliness can be fuelled in two deeply interrelated ways. One is the attraction of gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings. The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others. These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity.
Perhaps a picture will help clarify what Pope Francis is saying about the second way that fuels worldliness:
No need to thank me. It's what I do.