11 June 2013

Pelagians and the Pantheists. . .oh my!

from Catholic Culture:

During his conversation with the CLAR representatives, the Pope reportedly said that he was troubled by two different currents within the Church: a Pelagian tendency, which he saw in some traditionalist groups, and Gnostic or pantheist trends that he had seen in some women’s religious communities. He also expressed concern that some religious orders have been unable to attract new vocations—perhaps suggesting that “the Holy Spirit does not want them to keep going.” 

I've encountered both the Pelagian and pantheist tendencies in my short time as a Dominican friar.

While working in Campus Ministry at U.D. I regularly bumped into students who believed that they had to work overtime to earn God's love.  My first few months in the pulpit were aimed directly at this heresy.

I've also met many pantheists among religious. It's a strange combo of progressive fascism, religious syncreticism, pop-psychology, and radical feminism, all neatly wrapped up in the trendy "New Universe Story" mythology.

The difference btw the Pelagians and the Pantheists I've met is this:  the Pelagians were 18, 19, 20 year old college students who didn't know any better. . .the Pantheists were well-seasoned religious who knew exactly what they were doing.
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20 comments:

  1. I wouldn't say spiritual bouquets are Pelagian.

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  2. I've known the gnostic types for a long time, as probably have many of you too. But it's quite refreshing to hear a pope describing the traditionalists as Pelagians.

    I couldn't put my finger in what I felt repellant about them, in spite of all their good intentions, but Pelagianism is quite adequate for many of them. From the almost superstitious understanding of the extraordinary form of the Mass to an almost scrupulous strictness of many, I never felt attracted to this group.

    Then again, there are the likes of the SSPX who should know better rather than to teach the flock to disobey. These Pelagians and the typical Gnostics should tremble for leading so many little ones to scandal, for their promised punishment is awesome.

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    1. Americans tend to be either Pelagians or Gnostics or some combo of the two. It's our Prot cultural heritage.

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    2. Fr. P,

      Perhaps somewhat on this topic, why is it that France is seemingly a cauldron of traditionalist revival, for the better (Community of St. John, Communities of Jerusalem) and for the worse (Bp. Lefebvre)? Is it due to any lingering Jansenism? Can you comment on these new religious orders?

      TIA

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    3. I don't really know much about these particular groups. Generally, western culture is plagued by two recurring themes: neo-Platonism (Pelagianism, Jansenism, etc.) and Gnosticism (most contemporary women's religious communities, American culture in general).

      We all need a Big Dose of Flannery O'Connor to remind us of our fundamental sacramental nature.

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    4. Fr. P,

      However, in the 20th century it seems to me that the West has achieved joining a technological Pelagianism with Gnostic ideals... Ever noticed how many people take science fiction to be a preview of a world given to us by faith in science?

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  3. I am curious to find out what tendencies is Pope Francis talking about. Even tho I am not of the so called traditionalist faction, it does bother me that its being said that the factions have Pelagian tendencies. I wish to point a small thing out that Pelagian heresy is several different issues that were addressed in several Councils. I say this because I wonder as to what part of the heresy is the Holy Father is referring to? If he is referring to one aspect of this heresy I am glad that he is saying tendencies not of this whole heresy.
    As for Gnostic tendency, I have seen with some of our Sisters have dabbled in some of what Gnostic are famous for .
    Either way we have to hope that they will at one point be guided back to the Magisterium of the Church, We need to pray that this happens soon,

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    1. These ecclesial trends ebb and flow within certain acceptable boundaries, Brian. One generation will be too Gnostic (Baby Boomers) and another will be too Pelagian (younger traddies). Via media!

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    2. Via media, kind of like the Anglicans?

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    3. If one can call via media joining the appearance of Pelagianism with the ideals of Gnosticism...

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  4. LudiDomestici9:58 AM

    The trad freakout is hitting new heights. Check out the comments on this post:

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/06/pope-to-latin-american-religious-full.html

    More lamentations:

    http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/pope-francis-orthodoxy/

    George Weigel must be spinning in circles with his gold and red pens. Love it.

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    1. I find disturbing, Ludi, that you, someone who regularly professes admiration for Francis' charity and simplicity, would take delight in someone else's discomfort.

      Just kidding. . .actually, given that your faith seems to be driven mostly by ideological commitments rather than charity, it's perfectly natural that you would take pleasure from your (perceived) enemies' pain.



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    2. LudiDomestici10:27 AM

      Coming from such a font of charity and forbearance towards our president, I thank you for the compliment.

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  5. I don't see how prayer, especially the rosary, can be Pelagian.

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    1. Baron, the Pope didn't say that the rosary was Pelagian. He used the occasion of receiving a prayer bouquet to stress that we cannot work our way toward God. Don't buy the traddie freak-out, or the dissenter gloating.

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  6. Although I no longer have any dog in the race, I remained very interested in Catholicism as part of Western culture. The preface to this confab on the website contained the breathless observation that "they conversed seated in a circle, among equals, as it was in the first Communities founded by Jesus..." Someone has been reading too much Crossan and Schussler Fiorenza. There are no historical grounds for asserting either the seating arrangement or the hippie egalitarianism of the early Church, as far as I know. And as for Jesus being a Community Organizer...well, the whole thing smells of the 1980s. And not the good part!

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    1. Yea, this pope is more personable than BXVI. Big woo. He's as personable as JPII. Ignore the breathless pantings of the ecclesial left about Francis' revolution in style or whatever. It's all spin.

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  7. Did you hear that Pope Francis borrowed that "Pelagianism of the pious" from Cardinal Ratzinger?

    http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/detail/articolo/francesco-francis-francisco-benedetto-xvi-benedict-xvi-benedicto-xvi-25586/

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    1. Tom, that can't be! BXVI is an evil hind-bound oligarch who turned the clock back on VC2, oppressed women, humiliated men, scared children, and killed puppies.

      You must be mistaken. Haven't you heard? Francis is throwing the faith to the wind and inviting us all to Dance with the Stars!!!

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