Jackass for the Hour: Frobin in Ch. 27 & Sister Nice in Ch: 29

lightning vatican holy see st peter

“I was having trouble figuring out how a Roman Catholic Cardinal could possibly say what Froben is saying. It’s as if he is speaking a different language from Father Alexámenos. If Cardinal Froben had been participating in the Joint Statement business and has pulled over to the “can’t we all just get along pretending that we agree on certain doctrines” side, it makes a little more sense.

“The differences among “Christians” seem to be more than language. Jesus Christ, Who He is and how He works in us, His Beloved Church, is the difference. And then, our response ( ….yes, we have to believe to understand, and God won’t save us without us, but His Church is given, by Jesus, the Key of knowledge, right? )”

You’re right about the Key of Knowledge being given to Jesus’ little flock. We see this in Matthew 18 contrasted to Matthew 16. Important: Papal Infallibility: The Gospel Truth (Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18) I think I’m perhaps the only one to make this analysis, for two historical reasons: (1) The far reaching understanding of the “perfect” tense in New Testament Greek brought about by Ignace de la Potterie and used in his analysis of the wonderful change of name of Mary by the angel in Luke 1:28 was not something to which anyone paid attention previously; (2) No one but no one wants to go near the truth of infallibility in Matthew as this would be considered to be politically incorrect by the bullies that be.

Anyway, while the faithful do not have the gift/burden of infallibility as does Peter, both they and Peter have exactly the same opportunity to assent to the same Faith of the same Tradition as supernaturally provided by the same Holy Spirit. To put it differently in the extremely important Gethsemane of Cardinal Siri, it’s all “univocal.” Unfortunately, that book is criminally jacked up in price on Amazon, so, I guess it’s out of print. You might check with, if I remember correctly, Angelus Press. Siri’s presentation, by way of examples, is superb.

To the point: problems can enter with our understanding and assent for a variety of reasons. Difficulties are to be brought to Peter. We all free will with this assent any may not want to assent to the Faith for a variety of reasons, such as political correctness (which is always about being a bully and being our own saviors). All things being equal, we are not exempt from free will just because we are Catholic.

Having said all that, I’m quite sure that the reader knows all this better than do I. The question is really about how such a situation as a Cardinal (or for that matter in other contexts, a pope) might not be assenting to the Faith, that is, not if that is possible (such as with Judas: Arise! Let us be going! Look! My betrayer is at hand!), but rather, precisely, how it is that this can be. In other words, by what perspective is it that a Cardinal, who should know better, does not know better, or has chosen to be a bumbling political animal such as Froben).

That’s my guess as to the intent of this question as the same reader offered a comment a while back, in Chapter 7: Like a metronome, about a much more devious (in the novel) Cardinal Fidèle. There was no difficulty with the fact of him being so manipulative. The reader, with great kindness, said about the presentation of this Cardinal:

“The first part of this chapter, the description of Cardinal Fidèle and his thought-philosophy-conscience-character evolution, is a tour de force.

“Charitable depth, rare. I do believe he is based upon a real person.”

In other words, could I do with Cardinal Froben what I did for Cardinal Fidèle? That’s a tall order. The problem is that Froben and Fidèle are polar opposites. Froben is an entirely political animal in the sense of a bumbling bully looking to be a self-congratulatory “man of consensus” as they say. That’s his choice, where he’s chosen to go. Fidèle, on the other hand, is manipulative and political from an entirely perverted sincerity in that he actually does want to be wrong, but he cannot refrain from testing God, something which opens him up to demonic possession. Opposites attract. I could add all sorts of anecdotes (data, if you will) in character development for Froben, and I may just do that so that he doesn’t seem so boxed, so much like a straw man.

Froben is not a straw man. I cringe at stories to tell. I do sometimes mention them, if only by a place name that is impossibly in the story and those in the know would know exactly what I’m talking about. But I could make all that more explicit. The worst thing about Froben is not any participation in any document on justification – though he may well have rejoiced to see how this was rammed through the Holy Office – but rather his own documents on ecumenical cooperation in establishing a text of Scripture as close as possible to the original through “scientific” studies of the papyri, codices, etc. In the end, for him, as spelled out in this chapter by way of accurate summary of those documents, the importance of the inspired texts is to be reduced to that which is:

“small t” traditional, pastoral, liturgical, apologetic, sociological, organizational, cultural, political, geographical, psychological, intellectual, attitudinal or even economic.

Froben’s rejoicing in the “Principle of No Principles” and his agreement with who is said to have the “sum total of authority” is egregious.

Finally, it must be said, when it comes down to real error, there is no reasoning, no making it better, no making sense of anything. That’s why error is error. It would be “self-harming” to try to understand how error is somehow reasonable to those who run after it. Even those in error would not be able to tell you why they do what they do. They would just brow-beat you into submission. Purposed error is about power without its proper context of truth and justice and love and goodness and kindness and mercy. Purposed error is dark and lonely. How terrible. How sad.

It is better to rejoice in Him who is Lumen gentium, the Light of the Nations, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who – whatever “power” people think they have – will  come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire.

Did I mention fire? We’re getting closer to that as the chapters roll by.

Beware. You are warned. In chapter 29 we will meet Sister Nice in all her glory, if one can call it that. To readers not in the know, she will seem to be a mere caricature, another straw man. She does verbalize things I have heard anecdotally from those who in real life would be her colleagues. See does spit out the policies and attitudes of not a few seminaries and dioceses. She does represent accurately the insane PPF (Program for Priestly Formation of the United States Bishops Conference) with all its Pelagianism. But perhaps I could also prepare for her appearance with more references and character development throughout the novel. That would be important I think. However, to readers in the know, that is, who have actually met someone just like Sister Nice – no, really! – well, they will just have a good laugh, or cry. That Sister, in real life, did not come to a good end, but exited everything in the most catastrophic, ridiculously ironic, scandalous way possible. Nuff said. But you’ve been warned. I cringe at the thought of putting up that chapter.

2 Comments

Filed under Jackass for the Hour

2 responses to “Jackass for the Hour: Frobin in Ch. 27 & Sister Nice in Ch: 29

  1. sanfelipe007

    “Finally, it must be said, when it comes down to real error, there is no reasoning, no making it better, no making sense of anything. That’s why error is error. It would be “self-harming” to try to understand how error is somehow reasonable to those who run after it. Even those in error would not be able to tell you why they do what they do. They would just brow-beat you into submission. Purposed error is about power without its proper context of truth and justice and love and goodness and kindness and mercy. Purposed error is dark and lonely. How terrible. How sad.”

    This startled me! It is the kind of pastoral clarity that explains why I continue to engage in the error of wrath. When my target says “what is wrong with you?” My Guardian Angel, smacking me for emphasis, shows me that there is no sense in what I am doing. What then do I do?

    I try to rationalize my error to “try to understand how [my] error is reasonable.” And when my Guardian Angel smacks me, again, for being such a mule, I then (Lord have mercy on me) willfully refuse to give up “the power” of wrath, on purpose; for what? For the lie of being “right” apart from God. That IS dark, lonely, and terrible. Thank you father for this explanation, and thanks be to God.

  2. Gina Nakagawa

    This is a beautiful explanation/exhortation. Thank you, Father, for all you are doing.

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