Saturday, 23 October 2021

A Hospice, Not a Hospital.

'This is why Pope Francis routinely, and wrongly, pits doctrine against mercy, truth against compassion, and treats the commandments as “rules” that are pharisaical when applied with anything approaching a robust rigor.'

From Dyspeptic Mutterings

By Dale Price

One of the metaphors used early on by the current pontiff was to describe the idea of the Church as a field hospital treating the wounded.

This excellent metaphor, like the reasonable concept of parrhesia, faded from use after the early pontificate. The last recorded use by the pontiff I can find being in February 2015.

This is just as well, as Larry Chapp points out in a fascinating blog post. The "different church" he is trying to birth is not so much interested in treating the spiritually-wounded as making them comfortable. Or, in the case of the tiny traditionalist bands themselves in need of genuine, sympathetic pastors--driving them away with mortar fire.

He [the pontiff] is being honest when he says that he holds to those things as proper moral and spiritual ideals.  And therein is precisely the problem.  The Pope’s concerns are not focused on theological precision, but on pastoral application.  And in the service of the latter he sacrifices the former, reducing the teachings of the Church, especially on moral matters, to mere “ideals” that do indeed act as proper teleological goals but not as binding moral commandments requiring confession, conversion and true repentance when we fail them. 

This is why Pope Francis routinely, and wrongly, pits doctrine against mercy, truth against compassion, and treats the commandments as “rules” that are pharisaical when applied with anything approaching a robust rigor. The “field hospital” metaphor for the Church is a good one, and I endorse it most heartily, but field hospitals are extensions of real hospitals and their goal is to heal and to restore to health.  And a hospital that treats health as a mere “ideal” that is impossible to achieve for most “ordinary people,” and leaves them as they are, is no real hospital at all but a hospice.

There is far too much here to excerpt, and it edges toward being overlong--a venial problem that I would be hypocritical to criticize. 

The hospice, not a hospital metaphor leapt to mind when I read this news out of New Zealand today. 

It is one thing to recognize the trinitarian baptisms of fellow Christians done with the proper sacramental intent as valid. Doing so is, in fact, mandatory

But it is very hospice-y--indeed, the behavior of a different church--to not care about where a Catholic is baptized. At least if the sacramental economy of the Faith is something other than optional.

[John Cardinal] Dew agrees, saying it “honours our commitment to seek the unity that draws us together, to be transformed by our encounter with one another, and to promote further expressions of our unity across our churches.The Catholic and Lutheran churches can learn from one another and speak with a common voice on issues of concern in modern society, with the conviction that they share one baptism and one faith.”

While there are differences in understanding and emphasis between the two churches, the Commission’s statement notes:

“Catholics and Lutherans both assert that through baptism a person becomes a member of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.

“A parent couple that includes both a Catholic and a Lutheran partner are encouraged to bring their child for baptism in the church of their choice. They may seek to have both of their pastors/priests participate in the baptismal service.

“Christians are encouraged to speak of being baptised into the Christian church, into the Christian faith, or into Christ.

“They may say that they were baptised in the Catholic or Lutheran church but are discouraged from saying that they have been baptised Catholic or baptised Lutheran.”

I'm sure there's a nice, soothing memo explaining how this is just fine, and definitely in line with the reforms of Vatican II. There always is.

There always is. 

And it would be divisive to question it in the slightest respect. In fact, it would be a sign of psychological problems--or even being a pawn of the devil. Or best of all, both.

So it's fine.  

Just don't dare say you were baptized Catholic, and wait for the next set of talking points from the Different Church.

t's very comfortable here, and the nice chaplain always has a smile as he walks past my room.

Is he a priest? Doesn't matter, I'm told.

Plus, he's a very nice man, always has a smile.

The IV drip helps a lot. 

Sometimes I'm bothered, like something isn't quite right.

But I'm sure I'm fine.

It's fine.

I'm fine.

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