Prof. di Marco for Magister:
– The Francis Effect and the new Catholic Climate: “Democratic Tyranny” against dissenters
Since no one is capable of forming his own opinion without the benefit of a multitude of opinions held by others, the rule of public opinion endangers even the opinion of those few who may have the strength not to share it. … This is the reason why the Founding Fathers [of the United States] tended to equate rule based on public opinion with tyranny; democracy in this sense was to them but a newfangled form of despotism. Hence, their abhorrence of democracy did not spring so much from the old fear of licence or the possibility of factional strife as from their apprehension of the basic instability of a government devoid of public spirit and swayed by unanimous ‘passions’.
From Sandro Magister’s Italian-only personal Blog:
“The Francis Effect: ‘Democratic Tyranny’ against dissenters” I received it and I publish it: the author is Professor Emeritus of Sociology of Religion in the University of Florence and in the Theological Faculty of Central Italy
The climate of a Pontificate and new eagerness for the stickby Pietro di MarcoDecember 12, 2014
I have been told about a recent case indicative of the Catholic climate that is growing. A few months ago some members accused of criticizing Pope Bergoglio were expelled from a historic Florentine volunteer association.It appears that the proof was obtained from the social network where they had voiced their dissent – perhaps too loudly; an expulsion without a process nor confrontation, invoking statutory articles inaccessible to the accused.Also from other Tuscan settings, signals are arriving of an eagerness to act with sanctions against “traditional” tendencies; acts in the past, never directed against ideas and behavior truly anti-institutional, when not subversive of rite and dogma. On the contrary, those who have been in the Church, remember the hostility, for decades, from precise environments and people, against Pope Wojtyla or Pope Ratzinger and all of it tolerated by Catholic authority (it involved bishops and leaders of lay associations) formally aligned with Rome. Remarkable that such alignment, at that time helpless, exercises itself now in a pugnacious defense of the reigning Pope only to hit out at orthodox environments and individualities.Naturally, as in all “respected” repression, nobody is “expelled.” The accused, it is said, put themselves on the outside. It doesn’t matter, (if it did– how aggravating!) that in their polemics they were opposed to the “liquefying ” religiosity that pervades predication, pastoral care and Catholic ethics. Similarly to how one is disgraced in public life with the epithet “enemies of the Constitution”, a use of lethal formulas like “enemies of the Council” or “hostile to Francis” is now affirmed in the Church.It is enough as an example the vicissitude, still bleeding, of the commissioning of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, where the law of the Church is being used like a stick, i.e. in an anti-juridical manner, by “commissioners” who react to criticism with intimidating language [reminiscent] of political processes from other times. This serious matter, not less than the smaller depurations of which I spoke of, are legitimized by referring to the words and facts of Pope Francis. This is the well-known phenomenon of the abuse of the leader’s words so that vendettas can be put into act.However, it should be said, there is something more here than the motivation to please a Pope and his entourage and which is already fertile ground for this unprecedented pro-papal front. With the end of Benedict XVI’s pontificate, lay faithful and the clergy seem no longer to have any anti-bodies (they had few before anyway) when confronted with that post-modern Christian rubbish, which consists of admittance of errors and contrition, in self-criticism of our Catholic past “in light of the Gospel” and in all kinds of inclusiveness, as long as they are on the media’s agenda.Widespread Catholic culture has ended up being dominated by an up-to-date anti-clerical syndrome – from the crusades to the inquisition and pedophilia – induced also by an avalanche of best-sellers and costly cinematographic falsifications. Moreover: for the “Catholic critics” a Church so besmirched would coincide with the authoritarian “Church of no” – to be rid of. Further, the reigning Pontiff certainly does not represent a barrier in respect to this auto-lesion.So I was not surprised that the clergy, religious and lay in order to stay with the Church and in Tuscany, have recently applauded a cinematographic product (1) financed with public money, where the director, unfailingly Catholic, follows the life of seminarians in the 1950s, inventing things against the Catholic formation of the great Church of Pius XII, with such nonsense that it should have induced some Catholics with a little rigor and common sense to react to it.The indifferentism of “Who am I to judge?” therefore has gained a retinue, apart from when it is about the Church’s past. Besides, it exonerates one from the obligation of evaluation, discernment and opposition to the world; in short, it exonerates, one from that oh so distinctive Catholic witness. A “liberation” which, with no more braking from Rome, imposes even the moderates to say compulsively – yes, yes –, to ideas, behavior, laws presented as finally “human” and to unite themselves to the chorus of ritual public deprecations against poverty, war, the mafia – all of which – to the average Catholic costs nothing, not even a reflection.Thus – forgetting that it is only nihilism that always has a benevolent “human face” , which doesn’t judge and is solicitous of public happiness, like the Antichrist of a famous Russian writer – many qualified Catholic, clergy and lay, are lacking in their essential duty: i.e. to remind the West, and the world, of Christian anthropology which is their foundation; that it is about souls and bodies, life or death, generation or gender identity. Hardly any gifted Catholic voice of official authority has been raised yet against the unfounded (both philosophically and scientifically) and neurotic leveling manipulation of the masculine and the feminine with which there is the attempt to bend widespread culture by operating through parliament and the school system.Along with the mixture of fear and attraction towards the Pope, to bewilder lay and clergy, there is the sleepiness of Catholic reason, a self-conscience at an all time low, a subjection to other people’s public ethics, which – it is thought – under Pope Bergoglio, no longer need to be concealed. Furthermore, they are dependent on public opinion which simulates operating for values, thinking they are legitimized by a Pope who is mediated by the same “opinion-maker”, so, some lay and ecclesiastics with responsibilities to people and organizations, have turned into (according to a constant of political sociology) “democratic tyrants” toward the dissenters.Some will say that there is nothing new here. But in the past the sanctions were motivated for the protection of the integrity of the Faith and thence the Institution necessary to it. Today, by contrast, the stick is being shaken under the influence of imposed formulas by a secular falsification of Christianity, such as “love” and “mercy” against responsibility and right judgment, such as “life” against reason, such as “nature” and “happiness” against sin and salvation, such as “Council” against Christian Tradition. This is along the lines of too many homilies, where it seems we are re-hearing, watered-down and out of time, the worst of the post-conciliar seasons.So then, is it from the Great Inquisitor to the Anti-Christ? No , neither of them are adequate indicators of the Church’s reality. But the question is a good one to ponder.______
NOTE:(1) The film “The Seminarian”, created and directed by Gabriele Cecconi, was awarded a prize, at the Gallio Film Festival 2014 with the important award from the jury “Emidio Greco”, and also presented in September at the Italian Embassy in the United States and at the University of Washington.
[Source, in Italian.]
From Rorate Caeli