Update: to ease navigation here is the complete series of posts:
Part 1: what his disctinction 'Mystical' vs. 'Asectic' means
Part 2: why traditional Catholics can better accomodate this perspective than 'Neo-Conservatives'
Part 3: why liberal Catholics shouldn't feel too comfortable with it
Part 4: what is going on with the reference to the life and family issues.
Part 5: what to make of the worry that the Vetus Ordo suffer 'ideologization'.
Pope Francis' long interview with Fr Antonio Spadaro SJ for the Jesuit journals presents a challenge for Catholics attached to the Traditional Mass. It is a challenge which I think we can meet.
My concern, in this first post of a series, is to get inside the Holy Father's thinking, really to understand what he is trying to convey, which is not always on the surface of the words. It seems to me that his thinking in the interview turns on a distinction he expresses when he makes the puzzling remark:
“Ignatius is a mystic, not an ascetic.”
He had, however, already indicated what this distinction means.
"We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord."
In another sermon, he told newly ordained priests:
The 'ascetic' side of the distinction, therefore, includes not only people stuck in the past, it includes people who approach the task of being a priest or bishop as just a job, people who look at the Church as just a human organisation, which must be defended, and whose rules are all-important. Because they look at things in a natural way, a merely human way, they are not open to the Spirit. They too want to keep things neat and tidy, in order to maintain bureaucratic efficiency.
|Being Christ-centred: the 13th Station at the SCT Summer School|
The challenge here for all of us is to ask ourselves: is the strategy I am pursuing within the Church mystical or, in Pope Francis' idiolect, ascetic? Traditional Catholics are subject to these temptations like everyone else. But it seems to me that the general tenor of the Traditional approach can be vindicated as genuinely mystical. What we need to do, to clarify what we are about to those who take on Pope Francis' way of thinking, is to demonstrate this.