Pope Francis reverses Benedict

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by juantoo3, Jul 16, 2021.

  1. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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  2. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    I like the Latin Mass. The words are universal, and people have a Missal to translate into their vernacular. IMO the Latin Mass should never have been taken away.

    Benedict basically gave individual priests the choice to say the Latin Mass if they wanted to. Francis is now imposing all sorts of jumps and hoops. I disagree with Francis.

    I salute the churches and monasteries that retain it.

    So ...
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2021
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  3. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I tend to think it's a matter of personal preference.

    Much of the criticism of the Latin Rite I find odd. Synagogues still conduct themselves in Hebrew, as far as I know, although I suppose some reformed congregations use the vernacular? Perhaps @RabbiO or someone might inform me?

    Orthodox Liturgies are effective conducted 'behind closed doors!' .... Buddhists temples and monasteries drone on in their ageless ways ... is it just Western Catholicism that seems to get worked up about the vernacular?

    To me it's all part of the loss of a sense of the sacred.

    +++

    Some of the Latin criticisms I find annoying:
    "It's boring" – Here's a secret – so is the vernacular if you don't make an effort to follow what's going on.

    "I don't know what's going on" – Well then, find out! Do you need to be spoon-fed? Should the Mass be reduced to a series of 5-minute soundbites, interspersed with commercials for local community news?

    The priest has his back to the people. Yes – BECAUSE HE'S ONE OF US – that's the point. The mass is a collective. It's our Mass, we're not witnessing him celebrating his! We're part of it, we're not spectators.

    (I'm no fan of 'happy-clappy' masses. Am I a curmudgeon? I hope so! But when was the Liturgy every a party?)

    My own don't-start-me-talking point is that the symbology of the Mass has been almost entirely lost.

    There is the altar rail. The steps. The altar. The tabernacle. Each higher, the whole signifying the ascent of the Holy Mountain. And an ascent in spiritual and mystical terms. I once attended mass at a Benedictine monastery (of all places) where the Tabernacle was set off the altar to the side, and instead there was a seat for the celebrant! How wrong, on so many levels, can you be? Symbolically, the presence of Christ takes a very subservient position to the celebrant.
     
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  4. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    I have no dog in this hunt...

    From what I understand, a significant portion of the Protestant Reformation was due to the refusal of the Catholic Church to approach or teach in the vernacular...it was Latin, by G-d!, or else. And here comes the ruler whack on the knuckles.

    On the one hand, perhaps there is something to the pomp and pageantry, of which Latin would be a significant portion. But it is not like Jesus spoke Latin, nor to my knowledge would any of the Apostles...although Greek is a strong possibility from the time and place, but the Liturgy wasn't conducted in Greek (at least in the West).

    I also think it more than coincidence that most of the better known Grimoires are in Latin. I can't speak from experience, but I take it on the word of some who do have experience in the matter.

    Again, I have no dog in the hunt, I can see either side. But that was a big selling point for Protestism, bringing "the Word" to the masses in their own language. Whether correct or not, at least they felt as though being spoken to and not at, and that nothing was being hidden behind a foreign language...not suspecting at the time the possibility of incorrect translation (whether accidental or intentional)...that would come later.
     
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  5. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    True, though some of them are translations from Arabic.

    At the time when grimoires were first popular, Latin was the lingua franca among academics. So that was probably the main reason.

    Nowadays it is the exotic appeal of Latin, ancient Egyptian, biblical Hebrew, vedic Sanskrit, oracle bone script Chinese, classical Arabic, John Dee's Enochian Angelic, etc which is such an indispensable ingredient of Western Esotericism. Even iconoclast groups like the Chaos Magicians like the aesthetics of incomprehensible words; they made up an entire lexicon of "Ouranian Barbaric".
     
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  6. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Quite. Interesting when you think that Latin was actually 'the vernacular' in its day, Scripture being written, as you say, in the Greek!

    It is the mystery, for me, and the very precise symbolism.

    I might have mentioned elsewhere, I think they should have got a poet, or a lyricist, to 'fine-tune' the translation, someone with an ear for language. Someone who could make it accessible (that being the point) without it being mundane to the point of banal.

    Agreed, but there was a huge debit. The robes went, the 'bells and smells' ... but the pastor replaced the priest in every other respect, and proved themselves no better.

    Eamon Duffy's "The Stripping of the Altars" traces the Reformation in England. A key point he makes is that there was no "substantial gulf" between the religion of the clergy and the elite, and the mass of the population. The more well off had better religious books, nicer churches or private chapels, how they worshipped and what they believed was near identical with the peasant in the field.

    Nor was the mass of the population in ignorance while the ruling class had knowledge – documentary evidence shows a far wider knowledge of church doctrine than many suppose. On the eve of the Reformation, there were some 50,000 Books of Hours in circulation, albeit cheap editions aimed at a mass audience.

    Life in rural villages, for example, revolved around the liturgical calendar. There were nearly 70 days when adults were obliged to fast, numerous feast days when work was not permitted, the laity expected to attend services. The religious dynamic, its calendar, its sequence of services, was central to how people lived. As Duffy notes, "for townsmen and countrymen alike, the rhythms of the liturgy ... remained the rhythms of life itself."

    The Reformation, especially in England, was linked to the changes taking place in the English economy.

    The Dissolution of the Monasteries, for example, universally described as places of sin, corruption, mismanagement, etc. was supposed to pour money into Henry VIII's exchequer to fund his foreign wars. Precious little did. Most went to the aristocracy, the dukes and barons, who took over often well-managed and profitable estates. The English Reformation was driven by class interest, Henry himself was quite a traditionalist, and the Anglican Church is a long way removed from his vision of English Catholicism (echoes in 'high anglicanism' exist).

    There can have been few if any communities in which Protestants formed anything like a majority. The reform stemmed from the need of social and economic prestige of its more prosperous and articulate adherents. The real influence of Protestants was making itself felt via key figures in the English state. This is why the Reformation could proceed even though Henry was a traditionalist and why it was reversed only briefly during Mary's reign. When revolt did break out, the ruling class took up arms to suppress it.

    Reformation takes time. Changes driven through did not abolish the beliefs in peoples heads. Uder Mary saw worshippers gladly return to traditional practise. Hidden statues were dug up, church cloth and candlesticks came out of hiding. The Reformation eventually transformed England because it was closely linked to the development of a new socio-economic system. By the 1570s, the instincts and nostalgia of the elder generation was giving way to that of a generation who had known nothing else, who believed the Pope to be Antichrist, the Mass a mummery.

    The past was another country.

    England kept the Protestant faith as its state religion because its proponents where the new ruling class. The first son inherits, the second was bought a rank in the military, the third went into the church. The state established its church, and the church reflected the state.
     
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  7. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Having said all that ...

    The Latin Mass Society does seem to be a collection of older middle- and upper-class men.
     
  8. RJM Corbet

    RJM Corbet God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    I agree, it feels like not just throwing out the Latin, but also a lot of the gravitas and 'feel' and fabric of the old Latin Mass too.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
  9. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    OK, but at that point in time the academics (at least in the West) were the Monks. They were the scribes who could read and write. I am not disregarding exceptions, but the vast majority of "lettered persons" prior to the invention of the printing press which fostered and fuelled the Reformation were Monks dwelling in Monasteries.

    I know of Islamic academics, such as the Alhambra in Spain, but I am not conversant apart from knowing that were it not for those Islamic scholars at that time (where have they all gone?) and some squirrelled "books" hidden at the far end of the known Earth at Skellig Michael, the Greek scholars like Pythagoras and Socrates would be completely missing from our vocabulary...because of the throttle hold the Church had on "knowledge" among the common masses, and why that period is referred to as the Dark Ages - specifically.
     
  10. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    I defer to your more intricate knowledge of the history of your homeland.

    But I would question a key point here, and it is raised by Sir Frazier in his book "The Golden Bough," in that the rural areas may have paid lip service to keep the "Church" authorities off their backs, for the most part they went on doing what they had already done for centuries, possibly millenia. The blue skins still painted their skin blue when the mood suited. This *may* have been a bit less pronounced in England, but certainly on the Continent "those rural bumpkins" went on about their business as usual...and as long as the Church got their tithes (taxes), the rural folk were otherwise ignored.

    I've heard it said, and I'm being lazy to back it up, that under Charlemagne at least some "conquered and converted" tribes were merely baptized by herding them through a creek while a priest stood upstream blessing the water...hardly a voluntary conversion. Whether this is factually true, I can't say, it may well be apocryphal but emblematic in that the underlying essence I do believe to be quite true. Again, perhaps not in England, but I would think good possibility in Scotland, Wales, possibly Cornwall and absolutely Ireland...in addition to the Continent. And perhaps Cino could flesh it out a bit, but my understanding leans more toward the Celtic clans, where the Teutons were probably a bit more resistant, and by the time you get to Scandinavia Charlemagne was out of his realm, so the Church had minimal impact until much later in the game, and I think Protestism may have been a bigger player in Scandinavia than Catholism. It was the back and forth between the various Christian factions that kept Germany splintered until late in the 1800s, as I understand. Luthur himself was protected by a German nobleman for a good part of his later life after the little tussle with the Pope's man.

    The Catholic Church had fingers in many pies by that time. There was the march and subjugation through the Americas. I'm not sure when the Church made its way into Africa (certainly the Coptic Church has been there from the beginning, and Ethiopia has had a strong Christian presence through the centuries). There clearly are tribes today struggling through the Islam/Christian debate, and it gets bloody messy sometimes. I don't know if the Catholic Church ever got into India in any serious way, but I've read the entrance to China has its own difficulties, to and including somebody who took the Christian message and twisted it into some weird faith that no Christian I know would recognize, and tried to overthrow the powers that be at the time looking to take over the joint...and if not for a very intensive effort by the Chinese Emperor's forces to finally put down the insurrection, the history of that part of the world might be quite different.

    Taiping Rebellion - Wikipedia

    But that has been the way of religion in general for all of history, until the little American experiment in separation of Church and State.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2021
  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Stateside if you wanna go into the priesthood, science, medicine, law, or English Latin is a hugr benefit if not prerequisite.
     
  12. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    There were almost 700 years between Charlemain and Luther.

    The German tribes were converted at various points in time. Some as you say forcibly, such as the Saxons under Charlemain, a pretty gruesome event. Just to the east, across the Elbe river, the Slavic tribes were converted over the next few centuries. The Polish were early adopters, the Balts were again converted at sword point, during the Northern Crusades of the 12th century. The Rus' (modern day Ukraine) were oriented towards Byzantium, rather than Rome, and were converted by missionary activity. The Hungarians initially flirted with Byzantium, and even got a blessed diadem sent for the baptism/coronation of their king, but then switched to Rome (but kept the crown, still around apparently). further down the Balkans it gets even more complicated, Croatia turning to Rome, Serbia to Constantinople...

    Luther stood at the turning point of reform movements, there had been earlier attempts (Waldensians, Hussites, perhaps the Cathars, many more). Germany was fragmented before the Reformation, due to the political system of powerful warlords - excuse me, "nobles" - who elected the emperor, and the struggle with the church over who gets to rule the considerable church lands (does the Pope nominate the Prince-bishops, or is it the emperor). So Luther's reformation was seen by some of those power players as a way to break the stalemate, which it did, resulting in the 30 years war. Which was fought over power and influence, not religion, as the alliances crossed faiths all the time.

    The Scandinavians were Roman Catholic before adopting Lutheranism. And pagan before that, of course. Some even voted democratically on which faith, pagan or (Roman Catholic) Christian, they should adopt, like the Icelanders. Others were converted because their kings converted. And as you say, the pagan customs stayed around.
     
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  13. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Grimoires were popular throughout the Renaissance, when academia had moved out of the monasteries. The fall of Byzantium also brought Greek texts which had been previously unknown into the West, so in some cases, we have two lines of transmission of the ancient texts, via Arabic and directly via Greek.

    As to your question about scholarship in Islamic countrirs, it is a long story, just like in the West. Empires and kingdoms rose and fell, centers of learning got established and destroyed... major catastrophes to Islamic scholarship were the Mobgol invasion of Mesopotamia and Syria, and the Reconquista of Spain.
     
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  14. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I agree, but at that point in time I think there was an emerging aristocracy, who got there by force of hand and politics, on whom the value of some semblance of an education was beginning to emerge.

    I think that's a tad unfair ...
    "the Church prohibited autopsies and dissections during the Middle Ages", "the rise of Christianity killed off ancient science", and "the medieval Christian church suppressed the growth of natural philosophy", are cited by Numbers as examples of myths that still pass as historical truth, although unsupported by current research."
    source: wiki
     
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  15. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Agreed, but 'the workers' have done that, always and everywhere.

    Can't comment on The Golden Bough, I've always thought it somewhat romanticist, but in like vein I'd as romantically say I think generally the unlettered worker in the field had a lively sense of Christianity and the 'Divine Presence' (moreso than his/her contemporary counterpart, perhaps) and I can understand and defend the 'heathen' practice of folding pagan practice into Christianity. Recovering and renovating old (and I mean really quite old) houses, one looks for the marks carved into the stone under the fireplace, or in the flue, the bones of a dead cat under the doorstep ... even after the Reformation ...

    I think that 'lively sense' and a sense of the supernatural had its naive superstitions, but it was not limited or constrained to what Scripture says, half as much as the Church would have liked. I'm sure the ploughman in the field smiled to himself when he pondered how it was the men of God could not see the Hand of the Almighty at work in the rhythms of nature ...

    Quite. Same as when 'Christendom awoke to find itself Arian' – The King/Emperor/Whoever made decisions and that decided it for everyone.

    And by the same token, people awoke to find themselves Protestant, or Lutheran, or Calvinist ... or living in Trump's America, or Brexit Britain ...

    Luther had no issues with indulgences when they went into the purse of his local bishop. It was going to Rome that he objected to.

    And the German Peasant's rebellion swiftly and brutally informed the peasantry that they might now be Reformed, but nothing substantially had changed. They might read the Bible in the vernacular, but raise a voice or question the authority and justice was swift.

    We're jumping back and forth over a lot of time and ground here ...
     
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  16. Cino

    Cino Big Love! (Atheist mystic) Admin

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    Yes, fascinating!

    The differences in Protestant liturgic ritual are substantial as well. Anglican High Church all the way to Calvinist minimalism.
     
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  17. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Sticking closely to the Reformation, I'm wondering who actually benefitted?

    I don't think the peasants' life was altered for the better, and in some ways made worse. All that 'discreet paganism' that informed pre-Reformation Catholicism in the countryside was banned along with the rest of Catholic 'superstition', which for the peasant meant the net result were the loss of feast and holy-days meant more time spent in labour ... welcome to the 'Protestant work ethic'.

    The laity were allowed to read Scripture in the vernacular, but not question nor interpret it. Church authorities determined that.

    In terms of "the throttle hold the Church had on "knowledge" among the common masses", I think that continued under the Reformation, and in some places the grip was even tighter. Extremes like Puritanism sapped the joy out of everything.
     
  18. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    At the risk of sounding dismissive, of which I hope you know I am not towards you, I really have only to point to Galileo to make my case, as he was emblematic of so much of the "force" upon the masses not to challenge the Church's teachings, such as the 4 corners of the flat Earth - because it was (the interpretation in vogue at the time) scriptural, and any position that challenged the Church's then current interpretation of scripture was forcibly "corrected." What went on behind the scenes within the walls of power may or may not be another matter, as we have come to learn of the secret philanthropy of alchemy by various noble families, and then there's the little spat between the Vatican and the Knights Templar... Any advancement of knowledge that even began to equivocate with "science" during that period had to come from outside of the reach of the Vatican. I don't know as much regarding Eastern Europe / Russia in relation to the Greek Orthodox, but at a glance I don't think they were quite as severe - though I am open to correction.

    Again, except for a solitary monastery at the far end of the known world at the time, "knowledge" was constrained by the Church in the West, whereas the Muslim world and the Asian Cultures plodded merrily along developing their "sciences" even if that word didn't exist for them.
     
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  19. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    The Reformation laid the groundwork for the Enlightenment. Once the Church had been successfully challenged, the gauntlet was laid and the Catholic Church finally was forced back into a more defensive position. I see this (ultimately) as a good thing, in that it allowed a broader expression of thought, including faith...but that did come at a cost. How many wars were fought over exactly this?

    And while the Puritans certainly had the ear of the King for a brief moment, responsible in large part for the KJV Bible, a scant 9 years later they were on a leaky boat headed for Plymouth Rock, being persecuted and chased out of Britain. So the King's favor was rather short lived.

    The broader expression of thought, including faith, has proved to be a double edged sword, but without it we might still be struggling under a dictated and mandated set of "truths" without any possibility of challenging for the purpose of wider understanding. We wouldn't be having this discussion now.

    Lord Acton was correct. Power corrupts. And while the Church held Ultimate Power it undeniably abused the privilege. But to maintain perspective, I am *not* saying the Church's teachings are without value, and even on rare occasions (post Reformation) such as the Gregorian Calendrical correction, the Church even fostered and supported some elements of scientific discovery...but to dismiss wholesale the abuse of authority over something as sacrosanct as human thought is to ignore what actually took place. We witness this same attempted abuse even today by other factions of power (or desired power) long after the Church has surrendered that specific authority, with these new powers attempting to control the thoughts of the masses. In this Orwell is more correct - All Animals are Equal, Some are More Equal than Others.
     
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  20. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Near term or long term? Long term I think everyone benefitted, including Catholics. Near term, as with so many revolutions, was painful to be sure.

    I think this is oversimplification, and I think you know it is.

    They had to be taught to read, first! Remember, Latin was reserved for the "thinkers" (primarily Church) and monied gentry...the peasants maybe picked out a few spoken words, perhaps even conversant to a degree, but the masses were deliberately taught *not* to think for themselves! Do you honestly believe it was like a light switch, turn it on and suddenly everyone rich and poor was a scholar??? It took time, compounded by wars of power, and the same poor were just as likely cannon fodder all the while.

    It was the Enlightenment that finally threw off the yoke of oppression of religion and allowed common people (of which I count myself among them) the opportunity, not necessarily the wherewithal, to explore other avenues of thought.

    A key element in this is the printing press, which coincided with Luther. Luther, living in a college town, was able to "exploit" this new fangled contraption to spread the word. Bibles, and any other books prior to that time, were hand copied and prohibitively expensive. Common people couldn't afford books prior to the printing press. And Luther didn't print books, he printed flyers...cheap, accessible and available...and this started making reading more available eventually to the common masses. The printing press was instrumental in the success of the Reformation. This cannot be overstated.
     
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