How much it cost the impressive display of poverty, which was featured Papa Francesco in Assisi on October 4 is not known.
Of course, in times when it goes like fashion simplification, is to say that the historic day had very little Franciscan. A score well written and well acted, if you want, but without the quid that made only the spirit of Francis, the saint: the surprise that displaces the world. Francis, the Pope, who embraces the sick, which clings to the crowd, which makes the joke, speaking off the cuff, which rises on the Panda,
that the Cardinals spring for lunch with the authorities to go at the table of the poor was the most obvious could be expected, and it is precisely the case.
Of course with great competition of the Catholic press and paracattolica to exalt the humble gesture of pulling a sigh of relief because, this time, the Pope spoke of the encounter with Christ. And the secular to say that, now, yes, the church begins to move with the times. All good stuff for the opening titles of medium caliber who wants to quickly close the newspaper and you will see tomorrow.
There was not even the surprise of the dramatic gesture. But even this would have been very poor thing, given how Bergoglio Pope has said and done in only half a year of his pontificate culminated in winks with Eugenio Scalfari and in an interview with Catholic Civilization.
The only ones to be displaced, in this case, would be the "Normale", those Catholics pathetically intent to convince the next, and even more pathetically to convince themselves that nothing has changed. And 'quite normal and, as usual, is the fault of the newspapers that to deliberately misrepresent the Pope, who would say only in a different way the same truths taught by their predecessors.
As journalism is the oldest profession in the world, it is difficult to give credit to this thesis. "Your Holiness," asks Scalfari for example in his interview, "there is a unique vision of the Well? And who establishes it? ". "Each of us," replied the Pope, "has its own vision of Good and Evil as well. We have to make you move towards what he thinks is the Good. " "Your Holiness," urges jesuitically Eugenio, who does not seem real, "he had already written in the letter addressed to me. The conscience is autonomous, he said, and everyone must obey their conscience. I think that's one of the most courageous steps called by a Pope. " "And here I repeat, 'says Pope, to whom not even seem real to him. "Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. This would be enough to improve the world. "
A Vatican II and post-conciliar already concluded more than well started, in Chapter 32 of "Veritatis Splendor" John Paul II wrote, arguing "some currents of modern thought," who have "individual conscience is accorded the status of a supreme tribunal of moral judgment which hands down categorical and infallible decisions about good and evil (...) so that we has come to a radically subjectivist conception of moral judgment. " Even the "Normale" more whimsical should find it difficult to reconcile the Bergoglio 2013, with the Wojtyla 1993.
In the face of such a turnabout, the newspapers do their work honestly and discounted. Resume phrases Papa Francesco in stark contrast with what the popes and the church have always taught and transformed into headlines. And then the "Normale", who always says what he thinks and everywhere L'Osservatore Romano, brings up the context. The phrases taken out of context blessed not reflect the mens who has made them. But, and this is the story of the church that teaches, some complete sentences make sense and should be judged independently. If in a long interview someone claims that "Hitler was a benefactor of mankind", is unlikely to get away before the world by invoking the context. If a Pope says in an interview "I believe in God, not in a Catholic God" the omelet is done regardless. Two thousand years that the church considers the doctrinal statements isolating them from the environment. In 1713, Clement XI publishes the constitution "Dei Filius Unigenitus" in which he condemned 101 propositions of the theologian Pasquier Quesnel. In 1864, Pope Pius IX publishes in the "Syllabus" a list of erroneous propositions. In 1907, St. Pius X attached to "Pascendi Dominici Gregis" 65 sentences incompatible with Catholicism. And they are just a few examples to say that the error, when there is, it is recognized with the naked eye. A ripassatina to "Denzinger" would not hurt.
Moreover, in the case of interviews Bergoglio, context analysis may even make things worse. When, for example, Francis Pope tells Scalfari that "proselytizing is a solemn nonsense," the "Normale" immediately explains that he is talking about the aggressive proselytism of sects South America. Unfortunately, in the interview, Bergoglio tells Scalfari: "I will not convert it." It comes down that, in interpreting authentic, when you define "solemn nonsense" proselytism, is defined as work done by the church to convert souls to Catholicism.
It would be difficult to interpret the concept otherwise, in the light of the marriage between the Gospel and the world, that Francis blessed to interview Catholic Civilization. "Vatican II," says the Pope, "was a re-reading of the Gospel in the light of contemporary culture. He produced a renewal movement that simply comes from the same Gospel. The fruits are huge. Just remember the liturgy. The work of the liturgical reform has been a service to the people as a re-reading of the Gospel from a concrete historical situation. Yes, there are lines of hermeneutics of continuity and discontinuity, but one thing is clear: the dynamics of actualized in today's Gospel reading that was typical of the council is absolutely irreversible. " That's right, no more than the world put in the form in the light of the Gospel, but the Gospel deformed in the light of the world of contemporary culture. And who knows how many times must be done, I go back to every cultural change, each time putting in default the previous reading: nothing but the permanent council theorized by the Jesuit Carlo Maria Martini.
On this track, is rising on the horizon the idea of a new church, "field hospital" conjured up in an interview with Catholic Civilization where it seems that the doctors so far have not done their job. "I also think the situation of a woman who has had a failed marriage behind him in which he also aborted," he always says the Pope "Then this woman has remarried and is now serene with five children. The miscarriage weighs heavily and is sincerely regretted. He would like to move forward in the Christian life. What does the confessor? ". A speech cleverly constructed to be concluded by a question after which you go head and changes the subject, as if to emphasize the inability of the church to respond. A passage disconcerting if you think that the church meets for two thousand years this question with a rule that allows the acquittal of the sinner, provided it is not repentant and is committed to remain in sin. Still, subjugated by the overflowing personality of Pope Bergoglio, legions of Catholics are drinking the tale of a problem that never existed in reality. All there, with the guilt for two thousand years of alleged outrages against poor sinners, to thank the bishop came from the end of the world, not for solving a problem was not there, but for having invented it.
The disturbing aspect of the thinking behind these statements is the idea of an alternative between irreconcilable doctrinal rigor and mercy: if there is one, there can be no other. But the Church has always taught and live exactly the opposite. Have an idea of sin and repentance of having done so, along with the way to avoid it in the future, which make possible the forgiveness of God Jesus saves the adulteress from stoning, absolves, but dismisses her, saying: "Go, and sin no more. " She did not say, "Go, and it's quiet that my church does not exercise any spiritual interference in your personal life."
Given the virtually unanimous consensus in the Catholic people and falling in love in the world, against which, however, should put the Gospel into suspicion, one might say that six months of Papa Francesco have changed era. In fact, there is the phenomenon of a leader who tells the crowd just what the crowd wants to hear. But it is undeniable that this is done with great talent and great craft. The communication with the people, which has become the people of God where in fact there is no distinction between believers and non-believers, it is only in small part a direct and spontaneous.
Even the huge crowd in St. Peter's Square, at the World Youth Day, Lampedusa or in Assisi are filtered by the media who are responsible for providing the events together with their interpretation.
The phenomenon Francis is no exception to the fundamental rule of the game media, but rather uses it to become almost innate. The mechanism was defined with great effectiveness in the early eighties by Mario Alighiero Manacorda in an enjoyable enjoyable little book entitled "The language of television. Or the crazy anadiplosis. " The anadiplosis is a figure of speech, as in this line, do you start a sentence with the main term contained in the preceding sentence. This rhetorical device, according Manacorda, has become the essence of the language of the media. "These modes are purely formal, redundant, unnecessary and incomprehensible as to the substance," said "lead the listener to follow the formal part, which is the figure of speech, and to forget the substantial part."
With time, the mass media has come to permanently replace the formal aspect to the substantial appearance to the truth. And he did, in particular, thanks to the rhetorical figures of synecdoche and metonymy, with which it is a part for the whole. The increasingly dizzying speed information security challenges to overlook the whole and leads to focus on some particular expertise chosen to give a reading of the overall phenomenon. Increasingly, newspapers, TV, websites, summarize the major events in detail.
From this point of view, it seems that Pope Francis was made for the mass media and the mass media have been made for Pope Francis. Just mention the only example of a man dressed in white going down the ladder plane carrying a tattered black leather purse: perfect use of synecdoche and metonymy together. The figure of the Pope is absorbed by the black bag that cancels out the image sacral handed down over the centuries in order to restore a completely new and mundane: the Pope, the new Pope, it's all in the detail which enhances the poverty, humility, dedication, work, contemporary, everyday life, the proximity to the most terrain imaginable. The ultimate effect of this process leads to positioned on the background of the impersonal concept of the Papacy and the simultaneous rise to prominence of the person who embodies. The effect is all the more disruptive if you observe that the message recipients transposing the meaning exactly the opposite: hail the great humility of the man and think that these ports luster to the Papacy.
As a result of synecdoche and metonymy, the next step is to identify the person of the Pope and the Papacy: a part for the whole, and Simon Peter ousted. This phenomenon causes Bergoglio, while expressing formally as a private doctor, transform virtually every gesture and every word her in an act of the Magisterium. And if you think that even the majority of Catholics are convinced that what the Pope says is only and always infallible, you're done. Though you might protest that a letter or an interview to Scalfari to anyone are even less of an opinion from a private doctor, the mass media age, the effect it will produce will be immeasurably greater than any solemn pronouncement. Indeed, the more the gesture or speech will be formally small and insignificant, the more will take effect and will be regarded as unassailable and incriticabili.
Not surprisingly, the symbology that supports this phenomenon is made of poor everyday things. The black bag carried in hand on the plane is an example of a school. But even when it comes to the pectoral cross, ring, altar, sacred vessels and vestments, talking about the material they are made and no more than what they represent: the formless matter took precedence over form. In fact, Jesus is no longer on the cross that the Pope wears around his neck because people will be induced to contemplate the iron in which the object has been produced. Once again, the part you eat all that is written here with the "T" capitalized. And the "flesh of Christ" is found elsewhere and everyone ends up where he wants to locate the holocaust that is most suited. These days in Lampedusa, gone tomorrow. And 'the result of the wisdom of the world, that St. Paul banned as foolishness and is now being used to reread the Gospel through the eyes of TV. But already in 1969, Marshall McLuhan wrote to Jacques Maritain: "The environments of electronic information, which have been completely ethereal, foster the illusion of the world as a spiritual substance. This is a reasonable facsimile of the Mystical Body, deafening manifestation of the antichrist. After all, the prince of this world is a great electrical engineer. "
Sooner or later we will have to awaken even the great mass media and go back to sleep with reality. And we must also learn true humility, which is to submit to someone bigger, which is manifested through immutable laws even by the Vicar of Christ. And we must find the courage to say that a Catholic can only feel lost in front of a dialogue in which everyone, in homage to the supposed autonomy of conscience, is encouraged to continue toward a personal vision of good and evil. Why Christ can not be an option among many. At least for his vicar.
Alessandro Gnocchi and Mario Palmaro
(Journalist and scholar of literature, the first canonist and Professor of Bioethics second, the authors are authoritative expression of the Catholic traditionalist world).