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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
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Pope Francis denounces ‘adolescent progressivism,’ calls Lord of the World prophetic

November 19, 2013

During his homily at Mass on November 18, Pope Francis called the first chapter of the First Book of Maccabees “one of the saddest pages in the Bible” because “a great part of the people of God withdraw from the Lord in favor of worldly proposals.”

L’Osservatore Romano reported that the Pope preached:

“Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles round about us; we cannot become isolated” or remain stuck in our old traditions. “Let us go and make a covenant with them, for since we separated from them many evils have come upon us.” The proposal so pleased them that some of the people eagerly went to see the king, to bargain with the king, to negotiate.

L’Osservatore Romano continued:

The Bishop of Rome likened their attitude to what he called the modern-day “spirit of adolescent progressivism” which seductively suggests that it is always right, when faced with any decision, to move on rather than remaining faithful to one's own traditions. “The people,” he said, “bargained with the king, they negotiated with the king. But they didn't negotiate habits … they negotiated fidelity to God, who is always faithful. And this is what we call apostasy; the prophets called it adultery. They were an adulterous people” who “negotiated something essential to their very being, i.e., their faithfulness to the Lord.”

Many people, he said, accepted the king's orders “which prescribed that all the people in his kingdom should be one: and every one should leave his own law.” However, he observed, it was not the “beautiful globalization” which is expressed in “the unity of all nations” who each preserve their own identity and traditions. No, he said, the passage describes the “globalization of hegemonic uniformity,” a uniformity of thought born of worldliness.

“Still today, the spirit of worldliness leads us to progressivism, to this uniformity of thought” … Negotiating one's fidelity to God is like negotiating one's identity, Pope Francis said. He then made reference to the 20th-century novel Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson, son of the Archbishop of Canterbury Edward White Benson, in which the author speaks of the spirit of the world that leads to apostasy “almost as though it were a prophecy, as though he envisioned what would happen” …

“We would do well to think about what happened in the Book of Maccabees, he continued, about what happened step by step, before we decide to follow an ‘adolescent progressivism’ and go along with what everyone is doing,” the L’Osservatore Romano report added. “We would also do well, he said, to ponder the consequences of their infidelity, to think about the ‘death sentences, the human sacrifices’ which followed thereafter. He then asked those present: ‘Do you think there are no human sacrifices today? There are many, many of them. And there are laws that protect them.’”


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  • Posted by: JDeFauw - Nov. 20, 2013 8:21 PM ET USA

    Maybe someone should send a copy of this homily to every journalist and commentator who thinks that Pope Francis plans to make radical changes to Catholic doctrine in order to conform the Church to this "adolescent progressivism".

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Nov. 20, 2013 1:36 AM ET USA

    This is indeed the road the West is traveling, choosing what is easy, rather than what is right, and writing it into our legal codes as the new 'truth'. Abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia, s/s "marriage", and even revisionist school curricula to brainwash our children into accepting it all. And, as we ignore our God, our doom will be sealed. What sort of progress can it be if it takes us away from God, our home?

  • Posted by: jackist7902 - Nov. 19, 2013 12:15 PM ET USA