The Joy of the Gospel – Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
BY Frater Bovious
(CARROLLTON, Tx – Cradle of Civilization)
Some years ago it occurred to me that a politician’s worst nightmare is an informed populace. The past several decades have gone a long way toward allaying politician’s fears, allowing them to sleep well at night.
A corollary that I have now arrived at comes from watching the “media” reaction to anything Pope Francis has to say, or write. The simplest (and by simple I mean moronic) commentary offered engenders a lot of readership and blog hits. And so a journalist’s (and by journalist I am specifically referring to the political commentator/evangelist) worst nightmare is an informed critical readership. Because, you can only say the crap that some of these people say by counting on it being uncritically accepted by the scandal-of-the-moment-addicted readers that they attract.
Of course, they have good reason to expect uncritical acceptance – they make a living doing so. For example, we have Rush Limbaugh commenting on sections from Evangelii Gaudium as “pure Marxism.” This refers to sections where the pope has the temerity to opine that something is amiss when a homeless person dying of exposure is not news, but the stock market losing 2 points is (Evangelii Gaudium §53). Or the part where the pope suggests that our financial systems should serve rather than rule us (Ibid §57).
Rush should be careful in his bombast. His inference is that Capitalism trumps Human Dignity. Perhaps he is dismayed by the title of chapter two: “Amid the Crisis of Communal Commitment”. I mean, look at that title, sharing as it does two words that have the same root as “Commie”.
Never mind that the premise of Pope Francis’ position is Human Dignity, not exactly a by-product of every effort to put Marxism into play in our world thus far.
Seriously folks, the point of “Joy of the Gospel” is not a critique of current economic systems. Rather, the existing systems and structural inequalities are used to illustrate something other. And what might that be?
Simply that, despite all technological and economic progress, we have not yet realized Heaven on Earth. I submit it is an open question whether technology or economy alone can ever accomplish such a realization. So, a fixation on three or four sections of chapter 2 of this Apostolic Exhortation is quite an adventure in missing the point. And what is the actual point? “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say: Rejoice” (Phil 4:4) – quoted in § 18 of Evangelii Gaudium.
As an aside, it is worth noting what an Apostolic Exhortation is. An Apostolic Exhortation is commonly issued by the Pope after a Synod of Bishops. It is from the Pope, and offers explanation of certain matters of doctrines, disciplines and practices as discussed by the Synod. It never contain new doctrine, rather, any teachings will be there to exhort the faithful to follow certain already existing doctrines, or expand or modify non-doctrinal, non-dogmatic practices as fitting for the situation – things like should we have communion rails, not things like should we have communion. Some quick examples of applications of centuries old Church teaching as illuminated by this document are: Treat each other with the dignity and respect befitting our state in life – Children of God. Don’t worship golden idols – money and things. Recognize when your things stopped serving you and you started serving them. FB