Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Friday, March 15, 2013

...and NOW, for what I think.

I have tweaked the blogroll. Updated some links and, sadly, deleted some links to websites where their authors posted (or irresponsibly permitted the posting of) inexcusably uncharitable comments on Pope Francis. Not particulalry in the mood to send readers their way. Whatever consequences ensue will not prove to be something which will weigh heavily upon my conscience. Pray for them.

To all the new kids...hi. Some very kind retweeting/reposting/linking -- contrary to some third hand accounts, I am not a Jesuit; just a regular guy educated and formed by many saintly ones -- has led a whole swarm of people to discover my semi-neglected blog, on the strength of some translations I had done of then-Cdl. Bergoglio's pastoral letters and homilies (found here, if you can manage in Spanish). The good news is that I have translated more than is posted on this blog, the bad news is that those translations were on my pal Karen's now-defunct blog, the late, lamented Some Have Hats. [Moment of silence.] I am trying to retrieve those translations and will post them when I do.

Please pray for the Holy Father. He is getting a lot of flak from the Usual Suspects (yawn!) and, sadly, he's also getting flak from people who really, really should know better. Pray for them also, s.v.p.

And now, we rejoin my blog post, already in progress.

If you have been with this blog from Back In The Day, you will recall that I have been strongly drawn to then-Cdl. Bergoglio, now Pope Francis.

So I had an unfair advantage on Wednesday.

I was listening to some rather excellent tropical exotica music, when my wife texted me
Immediately I turned to a news station on the radio. Yes, there had been white smoke, and the news anchors blathered and repeated and reiterated the dullest talking points imaginable as the world waited. But in the back of my mind, I was glad. I ached to be in front of a TV screen.

"Please, God, don't let me miss this."

Some unwise driving maneuvers and uncharitable honking later, I screeched to a halt in my driveway, lowering property values in the process. I sprinted inside the house like when I had too much espresso and San Pellegrino and foolishly didn't avail myself of the facilities before setting off.

I turned on the TV, fumbled with the remote to find EWTN.

At that nanosecond, the curtains to the loggia opened and a thin, frail Cardinal (Cdl. Tauran, the Protodeacon, who suffers from Parkinson's) came out and, looking like it took all his strength and might, said:

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum...habemus papam!
Crowd goes wild.
Then the din dies down.

Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Yes? Go on.

Dominum Georgium
George? Y'mean PELL is the new Pope?

WHOA. It's Bergoglio!

Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Bergoglio,
It is! It IS Bergoglio!

Qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum.
At this point all my Steubenville pals get all excited.

Karen (Remember her? Many of Cdl. Bergoglio's best stuff, as translated by me to English, was on her old blog.) called me, her girlish glee barely restrained. Five years ago we had had a casual dinner with several Jesuit pals of ours -- whose holiness was evident by the fact they said Grace when the cocktails arrived -- and the name Bergoglio floated by. The assembled Jesuits all nodded reverently at this mention.

"Did they really pick a Jesuit?" We were overjoyed, knowing something about the man. Here was a guy who could swing the axe; had, in fact, swung the axe. Swung the axe when it would have been infinitely more expedient to leave said axe unswung. Swung it and not counted the (considerable, at times) the cost.

Now, among some of my Traditionalist confreres (including my pal Michael Brendan Dougherty), there was some worry. In some cases, outright desolation. Despondency. Anger. They were, as Jackie Mason puts it, "nauseous and disturbed." The inmates at Rorati Cæli were particularly throbbing with indignation, and some of the posts thereat, and comments thereto, were (in my considered opinion) in their scandalous lack of charity -- or basic research -- woeful, disgraceful and appalling. But, hey, I'm used to being appalled so I was able to soldier on past the wailing and gnashing of Jansenist* teeth.

To say that a riptide of discomfort has manifested itself in some of the "Trad" ranks is an understatement. I theorize that Burkean conservatism runs in many a Trad vein, and that carries with it a sort of genetic predisposition for melancholy and despair with it.

(That the outer fringe of the "Spirit of Vatican II" contingent is, or will be, mightily disappointed in this Pope is a given. I cannot say the matter weighs heavily upon my conscience.)

It must be said the Holy Father and I do not seem to share liturgical sensibilities. I harbor no illusions he will lead that particular charge. I share the concerns of those who are especially attached to the EF Mass. (Irony of ironies, it is at our Jesuit-run parish where the TLM is closest to me.) I am not downplaying that.

Color me Pollyanna-on-XTC but even that -- and I am on record as being as big a fan of High Church traditionalism as can be managed without genetic engineering -- is not sufficient to dampen my enthusiasm for the current Holy Father. I note the Pope has actually spoken bluntly about the "hot button issues" and called them for what they are. He could have very easily mumbled vague disapproval as so very, very many of his brother bishops have. But to call something -- openly, without even the merest chemical trace of shame or compunction -- the work of Satan? Who else within the last 25 years has said that? Or, what's more, said so relentlessly and without pause?

And he picks the theme up in his 1st papal homily, all the while as he extemporizes a beautiful catechesis on how the Church must profess Christ and His cross.

Yes, I have my liturgical concerns. But I am hopeful and, at least for now, remain very pleased.



* For those of you who cannot be bothered to read up on Jansenism, every time you come across the term, just replace it with "prissy pessimism" and that'll be close enough for Curial work.


  • At 8:06 PM, March 15, 2013 , Blogger Gloria Laudes said...

    This was a delight to read. I'm a new follower and couldn't click away from your blog without leaving a note of appreciation.

  • At 11:06 PM, March 15, 2013 , Blogger Sam Entile said...

    Thanks for the treasure of English works by Cardinal Bergoglio. This is one of the best resources on the internet for that reason. Welcome back!

  • At 6:09 AM, March 16, 2013 , Blogger JMG said...

    Aw, shucks.


  • At 11:01 AM, March 16, 2013 , Blogger Ryan Herr said...

    I looked on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, for ... Here are your +Bergoglio translations I found there:

    March 9, 2011 - Ash Wednesday Homily

    September 21, 2009 - Homily on modern slavery

    April 23, 2009 - Easter Vigil homily

    May 7, 2008 - Mass for Educators

    Thank you for your translations!

  • At 2:04 PM, March 16, 2013 , Blogger JMG said...

    Thanks, Ryan!!

  • At 1:35 AM, March 17, 2013 , Blogger Jeremiah Thomas Walker said...

    hi JMG. I'm new to your blog, and new to Pope Francis, so the translations I've read so far have been illuminating. Thanks for your work. Btw, I'm also a student from Steubenville. Did you ever study at Franciscan? (I ask because both author profiles for this blog are empty at the moment.)

  • At 2:47 PM, March 17, 2013 , Blogger JMG said...


    1- Thanks.
    2- No, but I just have a lot of FUS pals!

  • At 3:57 AM, March 19, 2013 , Blogger John J. Jakubczyk said...

    Je, i like your style. And as someone Jesuit educated (high school) who has lamented their recent road to perdition, it is always a joy to find someone who truly appreciates the God, guts and glory of the Ignatian way. I like our new pope. He seems to be his own man - or better yet God's own man, and not some milk-toast afraid to call a spade a spade. and as you said, his first homily was not some wimpy syrupy schmaltz. He drew the line. So lets raise a toast of thanksgiving for the successor of Peter and pray that The Holy spirit will guide him as he seeks to strengthen his brothers to lead the Church into the new Evangelization.

  • At 1:51 PM, March 20, 2013 , Blogger Rachel Dobbs said...

    I am wondering if Pope Francis will be the sort who will leave the liturgy alone since it seems he doesn't have much of an interest in it and his priorities are different. Is there any indication in the homilies and other writings that he has that would give some indication of that? I found some footage of some Masses at the Cathedral of Buenos Aires and it seems that things are done by the book (no obvious craziness). I know that the children's Mass is the one that has been posted but I don't take that as a complete indication of where things are headed. The Masses that he has offered so far as Pope have been simple but very reverent.

  • At 6:46 AM, March 21, 2013 , Blogger JMG said...


    If I had to GUESS, I'd say he'll leave it alone. Keep in mind he was also the Ordinary for Eastern rite Catholics, which means familiarity with their liturgical traditions which are hardly bongos-and-kumbaya.

    From going back to his earliest homilies as archbishop of Buenos Aires, he seems more of a preacher than anything else, with a VERY Jesuit way of doing it (use of colloquialisms, call-a-spade-a-spade, etc.).

    Lastly, among the TLM community here, are young Jesuits (!) at our Jesuit-run parish (!!) and they are ecstatic, even if the Holy Father's liturgical sensibilities aren't the same.


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