Pope Francis, explaining his explanation
Upset by the unjustly critical reaction his open letter caused the other day, His Holiness decided to make his meaning abundantly (abunde) clear. To that end he sent an open letter to the readers of this blog, particularly the Anglican ones (heretici Anglicani). Here it is:
Ad majorem gloriam hominis
Brethren and cistern,
[Fr Ignatius, my amanuensis, read the salutation and took exception to the last word. I told him not to be such a stickler for semantic and orthographic convention. If language does not adapt to modern times, it will collapse like a house of cards.]
Ab initio, when I was still in Argentina, I sometimes behaved in an authoritarian manner – mea maxima culpa! This misled some lost lambs to accuse me of being an ultraconservative, which is the only kind of conservative in His Creation. Now I may be a sinner, but I am not that much of one.
The accusation of ultraconservatism upset me so much that I went down the local bar in Puerto Madero to settle my nerves with a whisky. The barmaid took one look at me and said, “Mi padre, by the looks of you, a single one won’t do the job. A triple is what you need.”
I followed her advice and a miracle occurred: I immediately felt better. It was then that I realised that women ought to play a more prominent role in the Church, to the point of becoming priests, nay prelates. Ergo, I propose that my favourite doctrine should provide not only for papal, but also for mamal infallibility. [Shut up, Fr Ignatius, there is such a word if I say there is.]
As I indicated in my previous missive, the Church is at grave risk of collapsing. It is putting people off by being intransigent in its preoccupation with homosexual marriage and heterosexual abortion. Good Catholic men are leaving the Church in droves because it won’t allow them to marry one another. And good Catholic women stop believing in God because the Church denies them the God-given right to scrape foetuses out piece by piece.
Now it so happens that I became well-versed in dialectical philosophy while still a student at the Jesuit Seminary in Buenos Aires. Ergo, I know that the absence of negation is tantamount to the presence of affirmation, and nowhere in the Gospels does Jesus say that two men cannot be joined in holy matrimony, nor that women cannot abort as many babies as they wish. (St Paul is entitled to his res privata.) Ergo, they must have sovereignty over their own bodies. Absolutum dominium, as we say in these parts.
Is not the doctrine of free will as essential to the Church as the one of papal/mamal infallibility? And free will means doing as one pleases. [I thought I told you to shut up, Fr Ignatius.] Ergo, if two men wish to marry, who am I to judge them? Who am I to deny them their God-given right to exercise their free will? De gustibus… and all that.
We, the Church, cannot insist on just one way of looking at issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. Come to think of it, dialectically speaking, abortion is at base but a method of contraception, and the world is overpopulated as it is. A fortiori, by dialectically linking coitus with free will, we arrive at a new, appropriately and laudably modern, dogma: Coito [sick], ergo sum. Or else omnia vincit amor of any kind, take your pick.
It has also been brought to my attention that many good Catholics are threatening to leave the Church because of its overemphasis on the divinity of Jesus Christ. They cannot reconcile this part of our dogma with the modern world, out of synch with which the Church lamentably appears to be.
Ab imo pectore I wish to find such reconciliation, and if this means reducing a few emphases at the margins of doctrine, then so be it. Personally, I pray even when I am waiting at the dentist: “Pater Omnipotens, not another cavity please.” But who am I to tell others, ex cathedra or otherwise, how, when or to who to pray? [Yes I know, Fr Ignatius, but modern people don’t say ‘whom’. So just shut up.]
Much as it pains me to say so, you Anglicans (heretici Anglicani) are showing us the way. You already have women priests, soon you will have women bishops in Wales, with England to follow. Good Catholics keep asking me in Rome, “Holy Father, why can’t we be like the English (maiali Inglesi)?
Nil desperandum, brethren and cistern,” I reply. “Just give me a couple of years and you won’t believe your eyes. The Church will change.” “Make sure it does, Holy Father, or there won’t be any Church. It’ll fall like a house of cards.” And who am I to tell them they are wrong?
In nomine Patris, et Filiis et Spiritus Seculari. [Keep it shut, Fr Ignatius.] Amen.
Frank, alias His Holiness