Friday, March 30, 2018

On confusion over last things

A ne'er-do-well Communist of whom Pope Francis is fond has leaked parts of what had been a private conversation between them, and what's out there contradicts Catholic doctrine, in that it has Pope Francis, who mentions the devil more frequently than many other religious leaders, suggesting that Hell does not exist.

Father Z has some thoughts about that. The pithiest of those is his wry but also reassuring and exasperated declaration: "The Pope and the Church do not and cannot change the Church's doctrine through unrecorded chats with Communist newspapermen."

Amen to that.

It's too bad that the relationship between this pope and that journalist isn't a lot more like the relationship between Don Camillo and Peppone, because (if my memory of the Don Camillo books is correct) Don Camillo was not the kind of priest to ignore error and apostasy for the sake of friendship.

David Warren, a lay Catholic journalist fresh from a thoughtful Good Friday column, also weighed in on this subject, first writing about the pope's unfortunate penchant for walking jovially into doctrinal controversies, and then explaining what a denial of the existence of hell would actually mean for Christian faith.

Both Warren and Zuhlsdorf are worth reading. John C. Wright is not as theological as those two, but his cogent thinking also illumines the gulf between Christian and Communist worldviews.

There are reliable priests, scripture study programs, and catechisms out there, even apart from the millions of earnest Christians who lean on each other while on this earthly pilgrimage toward heaven.

Me, I'm grateful for my "prayer peeps" (not all of whom are Catholic), inspired by the fierce integrity of my sweetheart, and glad that I saw Andrew Hyatt's new film, Paul: Apostle of Christ the other day. The poor lighting in parts of that film is offset by gems in its script, such as the moving recitation of the Lord's Prayer by several dozen Christians who are about to die in one of the Emperor Nero's infamous circuses.

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