Last week, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, and former Primate of Canada, delivered the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Knights of Columbus, which this year took place in Toronto.
Sure, there was some initial reporting on it HERE and HERE. But the story has all but disappeared, and friends, this is quite a story. I know people who were in the room, and I am told the audience was stunned…STUNNED as it unfolded and in the immediate aftermath.
Here’s the set-up: +Ouellet has been a reliable defender of the faith, even the hard parts, during his entire public life since being made a bishop 15 years ago. He has written extensively on the hard parts and even wrote a book attacking the Kasper proposal. He was widely considered papabile at the last conclave, and his apparent orthodoxy has extended well into the current pontificate. More on his CV later.
There are two aspects to the stunning. First are his comments on Amoris Laetitia which came near the end of his rather brief address. The second is the context, or rather the preamble, leading up to the comments. Here is the entire passage on AL verbatim:
Before concluding, let me say a word about the Papal document, Amoris Laetitia, that was born of the 2 recent Synods on the Family. In all honesty, I think that controversies around Amoris Laetitia are understandable, but, in all confidence, I believe they might even be fruitful in the end. It is a document worth reading and rereading, slowly, one chapter after another – enjoying the marvellous chapter four on Love, and entrusting chapter eight to the careful and open minded discernment of priests and bishops towards people in need of charity and mercy. What is essential is that we try to grasp the Holy Father’s desire and intent to provide for the true and substantial reconciliation of so many families in confused and difficult situations. No change of the doctrine is proposed, but what is proposed is a new pastoral approach: more patient and respectful, more dialogical and merciful. For the most part, priests and bishops are being asked to care for and walk with them in order to help people make spiritual growth even in objective irregular situations. I am grateful to the Holy Father and am convinced that this whole process of discernment and pastoral accompaniment will bear fruit for all families.
Maybe Archbishop Kissymouth wrote this for him, because it is just dripping with FrancisSpeak. Which makes perfect sense when you look at the context. What is the context? The context is a disgusting love letter to Francis which +Ouellet delivered as the preamble to this paragraph. I think when he unfolded it at the podium, rose petals fell out.
When I see the Holy Father praying, I understand his impact on people, because his concrete charity flows from a deep familiarity with the Holy Spirit. We know in the Scriptures, as well as in the history of the Church, that the Holy Spirit can be unpredictable. And so, too, our own Pope Francis is somehow unpredictable like the Holy Spirit! I remember vividly his very first gesture after his election at the Conclave: Before we lined up to offer our congratulations and obedience, he walked the whole length of the Sistine Chapel to greet and embrace Cardinal Ivan Dias, who was unable to stand up and walk towards him. We were touched by this sensitivity towards the fragile human person — what an education in respect for each individual no matter his or her situation or background! We could see afterwards that this feature would be one of the Holy Father’s most characteristic attitudes and priorities….Pope Francis brings us to the core of the Gospel: Christian love of God, charity to one’s neighbour, sharing one’s gifts and resources…During Pope Francis’ first World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro, he visited one of the favellas, one of the slums. At one point, far from the media, he sat with a representative family, listened to them, played with their children, and left them with a greater sense of hope. Our Holy Father shows us that charity goes beyond being for people; it requires that we also be with people, where we ourselves are transformed by the encounter. He sees charity not as some remote, ethereal ideal, but as something very concrete, as concrete as our Lord’s Incarnation and Cross. Charity is physically close…When Pope Francis travelled to Mexico, he visited the prison in Cuidad Juárez. There I witnessed how he encountered those in jail and invited them deeper into the mercy of God and offered them hope. I was touched when he spoke to them, recalling Jesus’ words of “Let him who has no sin cast the first stone”, and how the Holy Father is aware of his own wounds, mistakes and sins.Pope Francis always asks himself on entering a prison, “Why them and not me?”. But realizing it is a mystery of Divine Mercy, where we all look ahead with hope no matter what “side” we are on, he approached those in need in jail not from on high, demanding respect, but begging forgiveness for himself. To be on the receiving end of charity can be humiliating for people. This is a reality that we cannot deny. Charity is intimately connected with and linked to humility; we cannot have true love without it. In giving, the Holy Father urges us to a Christian charity that is delicate and respectful, cognizant of our own mistakes and sinfulness. We could think of another example in today’s world: So many of us were born in countries, or able to emigrate to places, where the ability to practice our faith and to support our families through good work is generally present, although under attack more so today. But what if we happened to be born and raised in Syria or Iraq? We would have very different lives due to the present Christian genocide, and our lives would be incredibly different through no choice of our own. We would need the charity and love of our brothers and sisters in the Catholic faith and in the human family just to live and survive. The ability of the Holy Father to connect with people in amazing ways is due to this attitude of giving with extraordinary humility…Pope Francis steeps his day in prayer, one hour in the morning before Mass and one in the evening before dinner. It is mostly from this time with the Lord that the Holy Father makes his critical decisions. I remember once, at the beginning of his Pontificate, he had made a decision one particular day. But during his examination of conscience that evening, he was not at peace with this decision. So he changed it the day after, and peace returned to his soul. What an example of righteousness and humility.
What an example of nauseating BS. Go read the whole thing HERE.
As keynote speaker and considering his title, he certainly had total control over the subject matter. He could have chosen to talk about anything. The fact that he proactively chose this says something. I’m not sure what, but it says something. Second, can someone please speculate on what is going on here? Is this a strategy?
Finally, there was this threatening passage, where he repeats with fondness the same phrase – “contemplatives in action” – three times.
Since he is so intimately familiar with and attentive to the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis is able to see, as a good Jesuit and follower of Saint Ignatius of Loyola would, God at work in the world and in the life of the Church. This is what it means to be a contemplative in action. A contemplative in action could also describe the call for every Knight of Columbus as good Christians. Prayer must undergird the work of charity so that it remains something that is always from God. We need the leaven of prayer so that our charitable works can bear the kind of fruit that Jesus wants that will endure to eternal life… Pope Francis’ spirituality is an invitation to the Knights of Columbus not to abandon charity to pray more, but to allow your prayer life to imbue the good that you do in your families, in your parishes and dioceses and in the local community…The Holy Father would have us resist the temptation to forego prayer, and, instead, invest ourselves in a deep spiritual life, becoming contemplatives in action.
Ask yourself, if “contemplatives in action” are to be praised, which kind are to be condemned? This seems like further groundwork to destroy the contemplative orders, which began with VULTUM DEI QUAERERE. The necessity of this, for enemies of the Church, will be laid out in a future post.