Vatican Drops God to Reach Wider Audience

News: World News
by Jules Gomes  •  •  August 4, 2020   

Pontifical Academy defends 'godless' publication on pandemic

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VATICAN CITY ( - The Vatican omitted "God" from a 4,000-word document on the Wuhan virus pandemic in order to reach "the widest possible audience," Church officials claimed in a statement published Thursday.

Abp. Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life

"We want to enter human situations, reading them in the light of faith and in a way that speaks to the widest possible audience — to believers and non-believers, to all men and women 'of goodwill,'" Pontifical Academy for Life spokesman Fabrizio Mastrofini argued.

The pontifical academy leapt to defend its document after Church Militant published a news story July 23 noting that the Vatican's Wuhan virus brief titled "Humana Communitas in the Age of Pandemic: Untimely Meditations on Life's Rebirth" did not mention "God, Jesus Christ, Church, gospel, Bible or sacraments even once."

"I do not know, at this point, if a philological 'accounting' work on how many times some key words occur in a text is useful," Mastrofini maintained.

Without naming Church Militant, Mastrofini complained that "the criticism of the lack of the terms God, faith, religion, was advanced first by a U.S. site, then repeated by Spanish sites and finally also in Italy by some enthusiastic blogger."

'Prepackaged Mess of Pottage'

Speaking to Church Militant, Dr. John Zmirak observed that he was "now used to documents from Pope Francis' Vatican sounding like the meanderings of a college sophomore roommate who is 'spiritual, but not religious,' mashing together Nietzsche and Kahlil Gibran after smoking his second joint."

But as a bit of a prose snob and a recovering academic, I still get taken aback by the low intellectual quality of the so-called Catholic left.

"As a Catholic, I'm less scandalized than jaded. But as a bit of a prose snob and a recovering academic, I still get taken aback by the low intellectual quality of the so-called Catholic left," the author of best-selling The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism remarked.

Zmirak added:

It seems as if progressive Catholic institutions like the Pontifical Academy for Life are the hiring halls for leftists who can't make the cut in secular politics. It's the class for slow learners and slackers, whose pallid prose and timid thinking didn't interest Antifa, Black Lives Matter, or any other beneficiary of George Soros' charity. They're riding the short bus to Hell, having food fights with their little prepackaged messes of pottage.

On July 28, Italian media La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana followed with a pungent editorial titled: "For the Vatican, it's as if God does not exist" echoing Church Militant's article "Vatican on Pandemic: God is Dead."

Columnist Stefano Fontana slammed the pandemic document for saying "nothing about life" despite being penned by the Pontifical Institute for Life. It also "does not say anything Catholic, that is to say, inspired by the Revelation of Our Lord."

Free clip from CHURCH MILITANT Premium

Church Militant pointed out earlier that the Vatican document also omitted the call for "conversion to Christ," instead summoning the reader to a "moral conversion" and a "conversion" addressed to "our responsibility."

'Accessible to Everyone'

Mastrofini responded: "The pandemic is an event that calls into question our responsibility." The document was intended to be "accessible to everyone," he reasoned, adding:

In the pandemic we meet God to the extent that Revelation and the relationship with God help us understand who human beings are and what their role is in the world. Christ is the truth of man: We interpret it from a perspective where anthropology and theology meet, trying to communicate it in an accessible way to everyone.

Mastrofini insisted that the document that failed to mention God must be read together with earlier documents on the pandemic that make references to God.

Any social agency could understand the pandemic in this manner.

In March, Abp. Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, presented Pope Francis with a document on the Wuhan virus titled "Global Pandemic and Universal Brotherhood," Church Militant reported.

Sanitizing a church during the Wuhan virus pandemic

The earlier document calls Christians to "witness" to the "resurrected Jesus" and listen to Scripture. It calls for "intercessory prayer" in the face of the pandemic, observing that "this cry of intercession from the people of believers is the place where we can come to terms with the tragic mystery of death."

"The pope confided in me two of his concerns — how to help right now, especially the weakest; and for the future, how to come out of this (crisis) strengthened in solidarity, including on a global level," Paglia said, leading Vatican observers to conclude that the second document was most likely composed in response to specific instructions from Pope Francis.

'Literally Atheistic'

Columnist Fontana hit back at Mastrofini's rebuttal, slamming the "document's abstrusely sociological style, very far from a clear Christian language," which in one passage conveyed a "literally atheistic meaning."

"Any social agency could understand it [the pandemic] in this manner," Fontana chided, reiterating that the Pontifical Academy's document "carefully avoided conducting a spiritual reading of the event from the point of view of the theology of the fall, of redemption or of the invitation to penance and conversion" and "proposed conversion but not to God but to nature and human solidarity."

In another defense of the document, the Pontifical Academy insisted the "tone" was deliberately "meditative, rather than normative," since "the intention of the document is not to give cheap recipes" but to issue a call to "interrogate our most profound experiences without being preachy."

The Vatican's apologia ended again without a call to Christian conversion. It reiterated its earlier socio-anthropological "call to conversion, which is, first of all, a change in our own way of looking at reality, and to build our efforts on a renewed mindfulness."

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