“New avenues, new paths … new meaning.”

Mr. Louie Verrecchio documents for us the obsession with novelty found in Evangelii Gaudium, which Pope St. Pius X describes below with searing accuracy – Oh, how we need a Council of Vigilance!

“We decree, therefore, that in every diocese a council of this kind, which We are pleased to name ‘the Council of Vigilance,’ be instituted without delay … They shall watch most carefully for every trace and sign of Modernism both in publications and in teaching, and, to preserve from it the clergy and the young, they shall take all prudent, prompt and efficacious measures. Let them combat novelties of words remembering the admonitions of Leo XIII. (Instruct. S.C. NN. EE. EE., 27 Jan., 1902): It is impossible to approve in Catholic publications of a style inspired by unsound novelty which seems to deride the piety of the faithful and dwells on the introduction of a new order of Christian life, on new directions of the Church, on new aspirations of the modern soul, on a new vocation of the clergy, on a new Christian civilisation.” – Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi 55


7 thoughts on ““New avenues, new paths … new meaning.”

  1. An interesting statement by Fr. Rutler before the current pope was selected: “What God knows is not necessarily what God wills. Each pope is guaranteed the protection of the Holy Spirit from fallible definitions of faith and morals, but to suppose that each pope is there because God wants him there, including the unworthy successors of Peter, comes close to the unforgivable blasphemy against the Third Person of the Holy Trinity.”

    In a similar vein it makes me queasy when people justify everything they say, write or choose by claiming inspiration or guidance by the Holy Ghost. God’s acting in the world is a bit more subtle than “discerning the Holy Spirit” and automatically getting a response that ratifies whatever outcome was desired.


  2. Wow, I don’t recall seeing this call for diocesan councils before. I think I will push for one here. :-) Won’t be liked much, hehe, but I really couldn’t care less. I don’t like much some of the antics I see – and I live in one of the best diocese around. Just wait until our example catches on in other places.


  3. Tony, if you succeed in that, please share the details. Would love to be a fly on the wall when you present the idea to your bishop! As I’ve said before, the implementation of Vatican II will never be right until we first implement Pascendi. :-)


  4. From the Codgitator:

    “Specifically, the discrete word “new” appears 121 times in the exhortation, and “renew” appears 41 times, whereas the old word “repent” appears only twice, in one line, in a single scriptural quotation–in a 50,000-word document devoted to missions and evangelism …”

    121 times!


  5. I believe a sustained reading of EG, especially in a narrated audiobook version, would feel like an NLP induction session. The astounding, almost OCDesque frequency of “the new” in EG, combined with the proviso he makes in ##25-27 as an interpretive lens for the whole text, keeps reminding me of the old Marxist idea of “la revolución permanente.” His reference to “constant adaptivity” in EG, as well, gives me vertigo. I think that the Spadaro interview must be read in conjunction with EG, or vice versa, as a sort of field test for how EG would play for the “target audience”. Probably the most chilling lines from that interview, in terms of the pope’s entire sense of metaphysics, ecclesial leadership, and the value of the Tradition, are these:

    “Only in narrative form do you discern, not in a philosophical or theological explanation, which allows you rather to discuss. The style of the Society is not shaped by discussion, but by discernment, which of course presupposes discussion as part of the process. The mystical dimension of discernment never defines its edges and does not complete the thought. The Jesuit must be a person whose thought is incomplete, in the sense of open-ended thinking. There have been periods in the Society in which Jesuits have lived in an environment of closed and rigid thought, more instructive-ascetic than mystical…. The complaints of today about how ‘barbaric’ the world is — these complaints sometimes end up giving birth within the church to desires to establish order in the sense of pure conservation, as a defence. No: God is to be encountered in the world of today. God manifests himself in historical revelation, in history. Time initiates processes, and space crystallises them. God is in history, in the processes. We must not focus on occupying the spaces where power is exercised, but rather on starting long-run historical processes. We must initiate processes rather than occupy spaces. God manifests himself in time and is present in the processes of history. This gives priority to actions that give birth to new historical dynamics. And it requires patience, waiting.”


  6. One of the glimmers of hope I see is that the novelty always wears off, especially when you hear it over and over from the same person. The law of diminishing returns will not be denied, even–especially–when coming from a septuginarian heading a millenia-old institution not built for drag-racing or thinking in soundbites.


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