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Monday, June 24, 2013

“I am not a Renaissance prince…”

Fr. Anthony Ruff writes of Pope Francis ...

[...] There is a key difference between Benedict and Francis, however. For Benedict, the secular danger was located in the contemporary world with all its egalitarianism and informality and bad taste, and a large part of his response was to strengthen Catholicism by retrieving the beautiful, elegant trappings of yesterday’s European Catholicism.

The problem with this viewpoint is that it fails to see how much those trappings of traditional Catholicism are themselves a product of secularization, of the Church aping the power structures and court ceremonial of secular worldly powers. We generally call this “Christendom,” the culture that developed ever since Constantine, as the Church increasingly looked outside herself and her own traditions and Scriptures and toward secular models of leadership and authority.


In naming the problem of monarchy, in decrying bishops acting like “princes,” Francis diagnoses “secularism” more radically than did Benedict. He goes to the heart of the issue, to problems endemic to the system which have long compromised the Church’s ability to witness to the Gospel ....


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