THERE are folk out there, Catholics included, who apparently haven’t the foggiest notion of what the “Holy Spirit” actually is. Fortunately, though, there is an “expert” in South Carolina who’s prepared to stick his neck out on the subject, and clear thing up for those of us who may have been losing sleep over the issue.
Some Catholics have been upset at the speculation going on about the new Pope. This speculation, we’re told, goes against the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will choose the next Pope not you! You are not a cardinal!!
Longenecker – an evangelical-turn-Anglican-turned Catholic, said he understands their concern.
This criticism betrays a lack of understanding in how the Holy Spirit works. The Spirit is not some sort of extraterrestrial who zooms down to whisper in the cardinals’ ears in the Sistine Chapel. The Holy Spirit works in and through and with the whole church – saints and sinners alike. The Holy Spirit infuses the whole church – all 1.2 billion Catholics.
The speculation and discussion and interest is all part of the process. Some of it good and educated, some of it biased and bigoted, but all of it part of the fascinating and wonderful mix of the church.
Longenecker said that some geezer called Brandon Vogt has pointed out that Pope Benedict himself had this to say about the process.
When he was asked, ‘Does the Holy Spirit choose the Pope?’ he replied: ‘I would not say so, in the sense that the Holy Spirit picks out the Pope. … I would say that the Spirit does not exactly take control of the affair, but rather like a good educator, as it were, leaves us much space, much freedom, without entirely abandoning us. Thus the Spirit’s role should be understood in a much more elastic sense, not that he dictates the candidate for whom one must vote.
Having cleared that up, Longenecker said:
In a few weeks the cardinals will gather, and will be locked into the Sistine Chapel and the whole process will come to a climax and conclusion. Then we will have a new pope. At that point it is up to the faithful to thank God for his guidance and rally around the new pontiff with joy and hope for the future.
A few days later Longenecker sallied forth to tackle the issue of abuse in the Catholic Church, and kicked off a rant of biblical proportions with the words:
Let’s get the record straight. The abuse of innocents by Catholic clergy is not as bad as the Catholic haters report.
He then tore strips off the The Magdalen Sisters which he claimed portrayed the Magdalene laundries in Ireland as:
Catholic concentration camps where the girls were raped, beaten, heads shaved and stripped by the sadistic nuns. The official MacAleese report interviewed the women who were unwed mothers at the time, and it turns out most of them had fond memories of the kindness of the nuns.
The ‘abuse; consisted of some girls being rapped on the knuckles with a ruler. The very few instances of serious abuse were far outnumbered by positive comment about the girls’ experience.
There must be truth in reporting and the producers of wildly inaccurate works of fiction like the Magdalene Sisters should be ashamed of themselves – mere sensationalist lying peddlers of lies to make a quick buck by hitting an easy target: the Catholic Church.
Defenders of the lying book, play and movie say with a straight face that the abuse may have been exaggerated, but it was okay because it helped to raise awareness of the ‘culture of abuse’ in the Catholic Church. Hogwash.
After vilifying it [the Church] for alleged crimes or misconduct comes the stage of exaggerating those alleged crimes and assigning the crimes of a few to a whole group in order to create in the minds of the population the idea that the marginalized group are all inhuman monsters.
This is precisely what we are seeing in films like The Magdalene Sisters, continued reports that Pius XII and Benedict XVI were Nazi sympathizers and the idea that all Catholic priests are sick and wicked pedophiles. It’s working pretty well too, read the comments of most any mainstream newspaper report on anything Catholic and you will find a vile stream of violent hatred toward the Pope and all Catholic priests. This is extended to any faithful Catholic who attempts to defend the church.
It is vital that Catholics continue to acknowledge the reality of abuse and the cover ups which took place. It is vital that we continue to be vigilant with our child protection procedures, and it is right that we are suitably ashamed and disgusted at those in power who covered up abuse and sheltered criminals, but it is also vital that we deal with facts – not exaggerated hate language.
What I find most ironic is that it is illegal in the UK to publish anything that is likely to incite racial or religious hatred … except if it is hatred towards the Catholic Church.
Please don’t get him started on gay marriage. Whoops, too late!