|EPBenedict should have been given his due, since this encyclical reads as if it's it's mostly his dew.|
Lot's going on today in the world of Roman Catholicism. The Vatican has announced that both John Paul II and John XXIII will be canonized late this year. Maybe Pope Francis is agreeing to this so he will have a better idea of what the right hand is doing in relationship to the left hand. Or maybe it's a symbolic way of handcuffing the right and left hands together for all eternity. Personally I can't believe that John XXIII ever cared if he was canonized, but I can believe John Paul II certainly did. Hence he did away with the Devil's Advocate and reduced the number of miracles, changed the mandatory waiting period, and canonized more saints during his pontificate than the combined totals of all other pontificates. JPII most certainly set the stage for him to receive Catholicism's version of the Eagle Scout badge. What ever.
The other news was the release of what is being called Pope Francis' first encyclical, but is in reality Pope Benedict's final encyclical. It is not a product of four hands. More like two and a half hands. Readers can access the English translation here. This is very much Joseph Ratzinger's work. There's a few tweaks that stand out as something Francis might write, and I suspect he may have added the final paragraphs on the Virgin Mary. I suspect that because this encyclical is noticeably devoid of any recognition of the feminine input in faith and salvation history. The paragraphs about Mary strongly come across as an add on/after thought. In the other 80 some pages, women's role is mentioned strictly in relationship to procreative marriage--a total of one paragraph. Augustine alone gets the equivalent of about five or six paragraphs.
I will have more to write about this encyclical in the coming days, but I do want to hi lite one thought that is very prevalent through out this encyclical. It's the well developed notion that Faith is defined and passed on through light and sound, through vision and hearing. God is light, God speaks, are ideas that figure prominently. Where the encyclical really fails, at least as far as I'm concerned, is the almost total lack of reference to touch. Touch, the one sense perceptive ability that makes material reality so unique. The one perceptive ability that is manifested solely in the Second Person of the Trinity. The one perceptive ability that the Church has never come to terms with because one of it's pinnacle expressions, at least as far as love is concerned, is in sexuality.
I've really found this refusal to meaningfully touch on touch somewhat ironic in a Faith that claims God incarnated in Jesus. Why would God incarnate if it wasn't partially to experience the reality of a material universe which allowed for a whole new method of receiving and knowing love and of giving and receiving knowledge of God. So much of what Jesus did revolved around his touching, not just his speaking, and not just the seeing of him. Virtually all of the healing episodes describe him touching the one to be healed. The institution of the Eucharist is a touch phenomenon, a body to body experience....take and eat for this is my body, 'take and drink..this is the mystery of faith'. He didn't say 'pray and think' or 'look and hear'. He said 'eat and drink'.
This encyclical on Faith is as devoid of thought on touch as it is on women. I suspect that's not an accident, and even though it might not be consciously intentional, I think it points to the two seriously deficient aspects in traditional Catholic theology. It's lack of respect for women, and it's lack of respect for the fact we are all incarnated in a material universe and touch is critical to our well being. If a person thinks about it, the two things, touch and the feminine, are traditionally equated with temptation and sin. I found a great deal of interest in this encyclical, but the lack of awareness of these two realities was so glaring, I can't say I found much 'light'.
I think that you are right in saying that Ratzinger wrote this Encyclical. It got the nod of approval from Pope Francis, probably just to keep the peace, I guess. I got through reading the first several pages. It is way too long winded and Benedict & Francis could have saved us all a lot of time and aggravation by asking us Catholics about our Faith in God and how it is we manage to keep it as us women are essentially so non-essential in our own Church encyclicals written by the men and for the men.ReplyDelete
Only someone who did not work to achieve the rank of Eagle Scout would denigrate it. Just saying...ReplyDelete
Really? I did my Girl scout merit badges from the pages of the Boy Scout handbook. I was thrown out of Girl Scouts for having too many merit badges too quickly. My mother was incensed. You know what, having talent and IQ is not appreciated in women. Never has been, hopefully will be.ReplyDelete
We've never been allowed to write anything approaching a papal encyclical, not being men and all. Those women who have written serious theology have been ignored or silenced. So goes the fate of women in the Church. Apparently it began with Eve and stopped with Mary.ReplyDelete
Apparently so. Which Mary? Jesus' mom I am presuming. Could also be the other Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles who has been buried by the male hierarchy or only referred to as that woman who was such a terrible woman, like Eve. Honestly, I'm sick and tired of the men's attitude in the Church. I am learning on a deeper level every day just how much Jesus was and is so needed to be understood by the men. The women get it. The men, they like to write about Jesus. They don't seem to understand about creation because there has been way too much destruction with the men in power. Just my 2 cents.ReplyDelete
I liked your comments regarding touch. One could add taste and smell to this since they are part of touching, obviously.ReplyDelete
I usually meditate zen style. Zazen is really a "touch" discipline- sight and hearing are put to sleep, so to speak. What's left is smelling and tasting...not much of a distraction. One becomes quite aware of the body, its heaviness, its lightness, all linked to breath.
I really think theologians should sit zazen a minimum of an hour a day....it would go far in removing idiotic intellectual nonsense.
As for the feminine aspects of reality....sitting might make them a little bit more aware of how fragile they really are.
This was such a beautifully written commentary that I am posting the link to my page! You have given me much to think about with this! :-)ReplyDelete
We now have Saint John Paul II the Great (enabler of child molestation and financial misconduct) Wow, what a man to look up to!!ReplyDelete
Thank you for this introduction. It confirms some hunches of mine...ReplyDelete
Both, Mary Magdalene for sure had to be shoved in the closet, which is most likely why none of the so called gnostic gospels made it into the Canon.ReplyDelete
Declaring JPII a Saint at the same time as declaring Pope John XXIII a Saint is very unsettling. Now we have an encyclical with the ex-pope doing the writing and Pope Francis as Editor. This is also very unsettling. Very strange situation going on here.ReplyDelete
It is a really STUPID move for the Church officials to continue with the misogyny of its women & Saints, including Mary Magdalene. It just makes the Church dumb, clumsy and ineffectual, to say the least.ReplyDelete
I consider this document an evolutionary 'missing link' between BXVI and Pope Francis. I am eager to watch further evolutionary developments unfold, perhaps even macromutation here and there.ReplyDelete
I will not even look at this encyclical since everything that comes from the Vatican is full of masculine pronouns and words like man to stand for all human beings. I never object to reading these terms in encyclicals written before the seventies or eighties because everyone was unenlightened then, but now it feels like an insult to women. Other writers can manage to get their ideas across, often elegantly, by using gender inclusive words. Why can't the Popes?ReplyDelete
I repeat, I have not read it but I have been so disgusted in the past that I will not even try now. (I would be happy if someone tells me that it is written in words that are gender inclusive.)
Can't write to be gender-inclusive and at the same time maintain the whole gender-sterotyped, Catholic trademarked caste system. Even the misogynists can't stretch the logic that far... Though the Lord knows they try.ReplyDelete
heimerm, what bothers me even more than the gender exclusion is how many men don't have or can't conceive of what it is really like to go through your entire life in this Church of male exclusivity. It's like paint on the walls or something. You see the paint all the time but never process it's really there.ReplyDelete