Sunday, February 9, 2014

"The Pope, a porn star, and a parrot": Frank Bruni volunteers to be Pope Francis's PR Man

Frank Bruni, the New York Times' peripatetic correspondent on Catholic affairs, has finally found a pope he admires: Pope Francis.  Of course, the Pope Francis that Francis Bruni adores is not the real Pope Francis--or at least I hope he isn't.  But that's OK.  Bruni is going to construct Pope Francis for us in a way that makes him suitable for the postmodern world Bruni lives in.
St. Maximilian Kolbe

Bruni began  this Sunday's Times essay by suggesting that Pope Francis met with a parrot and an unnamed porn star.  Of course, the guy was not really a porn star, as Bruni admitted in the second paragraph of his op ed essay.  But the alliteration was so pleasant that Bruni used the phrase again in the last sentence of his essay. Why let accuracy be a stumbling block to ideology?

Bruni's point of course is that Pope Francis is willing to meet with sinners as if that is some major theological shift in Catholicism. But every Christian knows that Christ shared a meal with a tax collector and conversed with the woman at the well.  Of course Pope Francis is willing to meet with sinners.

Moreover, Bruni misses the point entirely--as usual.  The sinners whom Christ encountered knew they were sinners and they came to Christ to be forgiven.  Bruni seems to think Pope Francis doesn't care what people do--he's an edgy "whatever" kind of guy.  Hey--the Pope was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. He's more popular than Christ!

Then, following his usual modus operandi, Bruni worked in the tired description of Pope Benedict as "God's rottweiler," and he described the Catholic Church as a "sputtering enterprise."

But of course, the Catholic Church is not a sputtering enterprise.  It is the largest religious affiliation in the United States and has been since the 1850s.  Our churches are packed--at least in my part of the country.  I invite Frank Bruni to attend the 6 pm mass at Christ the King Catholic Church in Baton Rouge--one of six Sunday masses--and tell me with a straight face that the Catholic Church is sputtering.

I myself have sponsored eight people who entered the Catholic Church or are in the process of becoming Catholic.  These people include a Jewish businessman, a petroleum engineer, an attorney, a university professor, a military officer,  a cancer survivor,and a professional rodeo competitor.  Apparently Bruni-style postmodernism didn't appeal to them.

In my opinion, Bruni's parade of  essentially anti-Catholic commentaries are intended to undermine Catholicism, to turn it into an ecclesiastical cheerleader for postmodernism.  Catholic dogma and moral teachings, constructed over the centuries, are to be jettisoned for moral relativism.  Indeed, Bruni observes--untruthfully--that Pope Francis "understands that tone trumps content--that it's everything really." 

Tone? The essence of Catholicism is about tone?

Our Catholic martyrs--hundreds of thousands of them--did not die for tone.  St. Edith Stein did not go to  the Auschwitz gas chambers for tone. St. Maximilian Kolbe did not volunteer for the Auschwitz starvation bunkers for tone.  And Dorothy Day did not convert to Catholicism and devote her life to the poor for tone. 

No, these people lived and died for truth--truth as God revealed it to them, truth that is eternal and unalterable. So far the light of that truth has not shown in Frank Bruni's writings or the pages of his newspaper. But who knows what God might achieve?

Frank Bruni
So let's pray for Frank Bruni. Let's pray for everyone who has been seduced by the siren song of postmodernism--by materialism and the quest for power and recognition, by moral relativism, and by secularism.  Frank Bruni and his postmodern colleagues may think they are riding the future's cresting wave, but some day they may realize that they devoted their lives to the culture of death.







References

Frank Bruni, A Pope You Can Eat. New York Times, February 9, 2014, p. Sunday Review section, p. 3.


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