Harrison Butker, Pope Francis, and the Current Catholic Moment

May 21, 2024 00:27:22
Harrison Butker, Pope Francis, and the Current Catholic Moment
Crisis Point
Harrison Butker, Pope Francis, and the Current Catholic Moment

May 21 2024 | 00:27:22

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Hosted By

Eric Sammons

Show Notes

Two competing visions for the future of Catholicism were on display last week with the Harrison Butker speech and the latest Pope Francis interview. Which one has the most energy behind it and is most likely to prevail?
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Episode Transcript

[00:00:17] Two competing visions for the future of Catholicism were on display last week with the Harrison Butker speech and the 60 minutes interview with Pope Francis. Which one has the most energy behind it, and which one will prevail in the future? That's what we're gonna talk about today on Crisis Point Hill. I'm Eric Sammons, your host, editor in chief of Crisis magazine. Before we get going, I want you to smash that, like, button. Kick that, like button, like Harrison. But Kerr would kick the football to win the Super bowl. That's what I'm. That's all I'm saying. Just do it like that and we'll all be good. Subscribe to the Channel. Let other people know about it. We really do appreciate that. Also, you can subscribe to our email newsletter. Just go to crisismagazine.com and put your email address, and you'll get our email sent to you. Also, we are beginning a fundraising drive. We only do this twice a year. We're not like, we're not going to harass you every five minutes. Give us money. Give us money. But we do have to raise money in order to keep going. So you should be getting an email. If you're on our email list asking for funds, we'll be putting up a link soon. [00:01:21] Might already be up on the website to do that. But just note, we are in fundraising mode here for the next week or so, and so we really appreciate any donations you can give. Okay, let's get started. So there's a few news stories, catholic related news stories recently, in the last week or two, that I think intersect in ways that I'm not sure we always see. Because often when we get very consumed by one news story, like, for example, the Harrison butker story, we kind of focus in on that. We don't see anything else. But I think that what we need to do is sometimes we need to take a little bit of a bigger picture and see things a bit more from a macro level, 64,000 foot view, to see how they intersect, because they tell us something about Catholicism today, how it's being practiced, what the future is for Catholicism. And I think the Harrison butger speech, which everybody's been talking about, the commencement speech he gave a benedictine college, and the 60 Minutes interview with Pope Francis, I think give us some view of this. Now, I want to say one thing very clear. To my knowledge, Harrison Butler has never said anything against Pope Francis. I think he has said he wishes the traditional mass hadn't been restricted with traditional custodus. This is not a Harrison but versus Pope Francis. I'm not podcast. I'm not saying that Harrison Butler has gone after the pope or the pope has gone after, but anything like that. But I do think they represent different things in the church, different movements in church, different visions for the church. I think that's what's an interesting, I think something interesting to think about and to talk about. [00:02:57] Okay, so first, let's talk about the Harrison Bucker speech. I'm not going to go in and analyze what he said because that's already been done to death. I had an article I put, an editor's desk I put up last week at crisis. We've had a couple different articles about it. Paul, Paul Kingor and Ann Burns both wrote articles about it that I thought were great at crisis. Other people have talked about it. I thought it was a phenomenal speech, a great commencement speech. I went through it. I even printed out, gave it to my teenage daughter to read because I wanted her to understand kind of what's going on. And so I really think it was great. So I'm not going to go into that. I want to talk more about kind of with the butger speech, the reaction from Catholics. It was somewhat of a kind of a predictable cycle. First, the speech gets out there kind of in catholic circles, and a lot of Catholics like, hey, this is a cool speech. Then you see the left, they somehow gets out of our circle, out of our ghetto, into the wider world, and the secular left goes crazy. [00:04:01] They lose their collective minds because he dared to say things we're not allowed to say these days. Like, for example, motherhood and being a wife are great callings, the highest callings for a woman, likewise for a man. The priesthood being the highest calling, of course. And so being a father and a husband are great for men. So they just lost their minds and they found everything they could. They attacked it, attacked it, which then led most Catholics to then respond by defending Harrison. But Kerr. Now, one thing I do want to mention is, like, I'll be honest, I actually hate the online world in a lot of ways. I'm involved in it. I know I am. I know there's good that comes out of it. I've seen good come out of it. But at the same time, there's a lot to hate about it. And I hate sometimes these news stories that come up and become the big thing that everybody's talking about because they just, they get kind of crazy. But I also think, here's the thing. [00:05:02] This, the world attacked a fellow Catholic hard and wanted to shut him up, but they wanted to shut us all up. It was necessary for Catholics to respond. It was necessary for us to say, nope, we're not going to just let you get away with this. We're not going to let you do your cancel thing on Harrison Butker. We're not going to let you just basically say, we're not allowed to talk about Catholicism, even to a catholic audience. [00:05:27] You're saying, we're not allowed to do that without risk of losing our jobs, risk of losing our livelihood, risk of being basically ostracized from society. [00:05:37] And so I thought it was very useful that so many Catholics stood up and fought back. And I thought that was very good, and it was necessary. If we just kind of, all of us just left the online world, this could grow and could really make an impact in the real world. So, as somebody who does not really, doesn't really like the online world, I do think it's necessary for some of us to be in it. And I'm one to say, if being online makes you lose your peace, makes you lose your communion with God, in a sense, then I think that you need to be off it. That's much more important. And also one who says you need to pray more than you're online. So, at the same time, I do think some of us do need to be on, and we each need to realize that. So I think that's one thing is, like, we do have to be there. But then, of course, what happened was, is then some Catholics, the nuanced Catholics, the Catholics who don't really want to be seen as. I mean, I don't want to be rough and act like every single person who did this, I know their motives, but there is a sense where some people don't like to be seen with kind of us low class Catholics, the ones who really are willing and define things very much black and white, very much, say, yes, we need to fight for Catholicism. Christ is king, things like that, they know that that won't look so good to the rest of the world. And I think sometimes it's good natured in the sense that they want to present a good face to the world so people will become Catholic. I think the opposite is true. But within we all, suddenly, we saw Catholics who started to criticize, but good Catholics, you know, orthodox Catholics, conservative Catholics, criticized. But Carl, oh, yeah, he had a anti semitic dog whistle in there. He really was like, the way he talked about women's roles, it was somewhat demeaning to. To women who do have to work or want to work or whatever. [00:07:34] And that really, that bothered me more than the left. The left, of course, they're crazy. [00:07:40] But I think what happened was, I think these Catholics, they missed the cultural moment. And like I said, I'm not, like, demeaning all their motives and not saying they're not good people, but I think this was not a moment for nitpicking our brother. This was not our moment for nitpicking our brother. This was our moment to unify and recognize what was happening, recognize that the left wasn't just saying Harrison, but Kerr, specifically, what he said was bad. They were saying, if you express Catholicism, anything beyond a very neutered, watered down Catholicism of let's be nice, then you will be silenced. You will potentially lose your job. You will be ostracized. We need to stand with our brother at this moment. We didn't need to. We don't need to nitpick him and talk about what we thought. Maybe he should have said better or in a different way or whatever. [00:08:29] Now, here's the thing I think I said last week on the podcast, and maybe it was two weeks ago, I'm not against self criticism criticizing their own tribe. I'm the first to admit I do that, and I think it's healthy to do that. Like, when I was, what was my, my topic last week was about, um. Oh, yeah. Chasing signs that we, we have a tendency sometimes to be too apt to chase, uh, supernatural signs, where really, it's just natural phenomenon. And I think that that can be dangerous, that's criticizing her own side. These are good people I'm talking about who do this, so I'm not against that. And people who criticize me, like, you know, I don't have a problem with that, either. [00:09:07] I'm not. And I'm not saying everything Harrison Bucker said was perfect. Although I think it was an excellent speech, I have no criticism of it. [00:09:14] The point is, some internal criticism, when we're within our own tribe is fine, that it's good, it's healthy. But when the larger world comes out and says, we want to destroy you, that's not the time for public criticisms of our brother, who did, said nothing wrong. Said nothing wrong. [00:09:36] That's when we need to say, nope, we're with him. Yes, maybe to our own selves or maybe to our friends, we might say, yeah, there's a couple things he said I would have said differently, or whatever. I wish he hadn't said it like this. Whatever. But not publicly. Publicly, we should all be like, yes, amen. Brother, we're with you, and we will not allow him to be silenced. So I think that's, I think that's, that's a key point here. I think that, I think some Catholics might have missed that. This was not a time for internal debate. This was a time for a public, unified face against the attacks that, but Kerr and Catholicism was getting so that, that's kind of the Harrison but Kerr situation. But then also what was interesting is Pope Francis, he did an interview on 60 Minutes, and everybody knew going into this, okay, this is going to be, could be a disaster. Now, I will say he said a couple things that aren't bad. I mean, this particularly, the best thing going around now is he was asked by the 60 Minutes report, which, by the way, the idea that you're going to get a decent interview with good, deep questions to the pope from a 60 Minutes interviewer is just a joke because she's just going to do the left cultural talking points. She's not going to challenge him at all on things like Rupnik and, and covering up for bishops who have, who have abused and things like that. Nobody's going to challenge him. And he probably, Pope Francis knows that. I will say, though, it was pretty hilarious when she asked the pope about the possibility. What would you say? You know, can a girl who's growing up Catholic about becoming each other, it's a possibility she could become a deacon? And he just answered no. And that, that was great to see that he just basically didn't even, he didn't do his normal equivocation of, like, not really answering question or making it look like there was a possibility, even though he was saying no. But maybe he just said no, which, which I thought was very good. That being said, though, one of the first things that was going around about the interview, because 60 Minutes was promoting it, is when she, the interviewer asked the pope about conservative bishops in America criticizing the pope, and he responded by saying the word. He wanted to focus on the word conservative. [00:11:50] And he said conservatives, one who clings to something and does not want to see beyond that. It's a suicidal attitude. Now, just today on, on crisis, Doctor Regis Martin of Franciscan University had a great article responding to that comment, talking about, you know what conservatives really cling to? We cling to Jesus Christ. And that includes then the deposit of faith he left us. Yes, we do cling to it because we're clinging to Christ, clinging to everything that surrounds everything that is about Christ. The deposit of faith helps us to cling to Christ. So, yes, we do, holy father, cling to the deposit of faith to Jesus Christ. But there was something about it that was interesting. The reaction to him saying this, I thought was very telling because honestly, it was a collective yawn. A collective yawn. [00:12:43] And so I really felt like that was interesting. In fact, there was a headline from some american news outlet said, conservatives are going to be furious when they hear what Pope Francis has to say about them. [00:12:57] And I love what Taylor Marshall responded on Twitter. He just said, no, we're not. I mean, and that's, that's the case. All, none of us were furious about it. We know exactly what Pope Francis thinks of conservatives. He said it multiple times. He's made clear in his actions. And so therefore, we don't have a, you know, it's like, whatever. This isn't, this isn't news. This is old news, if anything. And honestly, it's the, it's the views of a 1960s formed priest. We've seen, I mean, those of us who have been around for a while have seen priests and bishops of this attitude for years, for decades. And what we've also seen is that attitude does not generate vocations. That attitude does not generate life in the church. It does not attract people. It does not evangelize. [00:13:40] And so we just kind of, at this point, have gotten to a point where we just say whatever he thinks that that's what he thinks. So there is this collective yawn to Francis repeating the canards of the sixties that have been repeated over and over again, even though reality has shown them to be false. [00:14:00] And so I thought that was very interesting, that everybody talking about Harrison Butler, there's this huge response he has his jersey sells out by. And I'm sure it wasn't just Catholics buying it. Catholics are defending him. So many people saying, yes, this is what we believe. [00:14:18] And then Pope Francis has his typical, just repeat some, some slogans from the sixties of, against conservatives, and everybody's just like, whatever. And I think that's because what we see here, and there's something about this that's ironic, is that Pope Francis represents the past and Harrison butger represents the future. Now, this is ironic because, of course, Harrison Butger is espousing traditional, quote unquote, you know, old views, whereas Pope Francis is the progressive who's supposed to be about the future and about new things. But the fact is the roles are reversed because what Pope Francis is really spouting off and talking about is 1960s, 1970s kind of dated views. He's stuck. He's in a box if anybody's confined clinging to something, it's him clinging to 1968, whereas Harrison Becker is talking about the future, about how we rebuild civilization, how we rebuild the family, how we find true happiness and peace and joy in this world. [00:15:25] That's what he's talking about. And so when we, the two things here are in conjunction and what we see is so, therefore, Pope Francis is the old, Harrison Bucker is the new, and we see this so much, not only did people buy the Harrison Bucket jerseys, I heard multiple stories of people who decide, I'm going to go to the TLM, the traditional mass, because of hearing the butker talk and everybody responding to it, because that's what the irony is. I saw some liberals who were praising some lady on the view, I don't know their names, whatever Haynes or something like that was, railing on traditional Catholics, saying they're reactionaries. They're like, you know, terrorists in Middle east or something like that. And some liberal Catholics were like, yes, this is good, that this is getting exposure, that the exposure to traditionalism and how, and it will really, how awful it is. [00:16:21] What's funny is it's going to do the exact opposite. [00:16:24] People of goodwill will see some crazy lady on the view, see a clip of her railing on this, and be like, wait a second. If she hates it and she's getting so worked up about it, there must be something about it that's true and beautiful, because we know that lady's crazy. Anything she hates is probably good. So we're going to look into it. And sure enough, people were looking into it. [00:16:50] And so this is what God is using. A simple, you know, kicker from a football team giving a speech at a small college, some crazy lady on the view spouting off about it, other people, you know, saying he should not be allowed to kick for the chiefs anymore. What it led to was more people being interested in the TLM. And this has happened multiple times now in recent years of things that will happen after traditional custodus. More people were interested in the traditional latin mass. [00:17:18] More people were interested in tradition. I will say Pope Francis has been the best thing for the traditional latin mass in modern times because he's gotten a lot of people attracted because they see that the attacks against tradition, they don't make any sense. They're based on false presuppositions. They're based on worldly viewpoints. And so therefore, they're like, I don't want this world. I want something different. It sounds like maybe those traditional Catholics, maybe that Churchill at mass, maybe they're not so crazy after all. I'm going to check them out. And so it continues to grow. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying traditional Catholics rule the church or will tomorrow. [00:17:57] What I'm saying is that where is the, I'm asking the question, where is the energy in the church? It's clearly behind orthodoxy, behind conservatism, behind tradition in the church. [00:18:11] The old guard, the liberals, the progressives, they're dying out because they don't regenerate, they're not procreative. [00:18:19] And so what happens is, I mean, they like to say, like, you know, most Catholics today, you know, they love Pope Francis, they support them. Of course they do because most of them don't go to mass. They're not challenged by Francis to do anything significant. So they're just like, yeah, that's, that guy's good. The media says he's great, so I guess he's okay. [00:18:36] But if you look at the parishes with the energy, the parishes that are growing, the parishes that are really doing something to convert souls, what will you find? You'll find common denominators, that is, embrace of orthodoxy, embrace of tradition. [00:18:50] That's what you're going to see. We also saw it recently from the sharp pilgrimage that just, I think it's still going on right now. [00:18:58] 20,000 people went to this pilgrimage in France that is 100% traditional. If you want to know more about it, follow Michael Matt over at the remnant. He goes every year. He reports on it. That's, that's, I suggest go over to our friend Michael Matt over at the remnant. He'll, he'll tell you all about it. But the point is, is that, yes, there are way more than 20,000 people in the catholic church who are not traditional and who are just kind of going through emotions, whatever, but where's the energy? [00:19:29] Do you see 20,000, mostly young people, making a major sacrifice for anything that the progressive wing of the church is promoting? Of course not. [00:19:43] I mean, if you had a, you said, okay, we're going to have a pilgrimage where, where it's focused on equality, diversity, inclusion. [00:19:56] How many people do you think are going to come? How many Catholics are going to come and show up and say, okay, I'm going to sacrifice, I'm going to sleep in a tent, I'm going to walk all day, I'm going to suffer for equality, diversity, inclusion? You're going to get nobody there. You can get some gray heads who might keel off by the time they're done, but you're not going to get any real energy. You say, okay, we're going to do this for God, for tradition, for, we're going to have the latin master, we're going to do all this stuff. Now all of a sudden you got people coming. And that's the reality. And that's where, I think is where the energy is. That's where the future is. Again, it's not today, it's not tomorrow that we've taken over. But the directions are clear. One part is dying, one part is growing. And I think those are very good signs. This is my optimistic podcast, by the way. [00:20:43] I also want to, there's one last thing I want to talk about when I'm talking, when I compare the Harrison Bucker speech with Pope Francis. And that is the difference in how the Holy Spirit, how the Holy Spirit works in the church. [00:20:59] Traditionally, we always would say the Holy Spirit works through both ecclesial charisms and charismatic charisms. Now, the word charismatic, I think, will send off like red flags for some people. I'm not talking about the charismatic movement. I'm not talking about speaking in tongues or anything like that. [00:21:16] What I'm talking about is the word charismatic has a longer history than that. What I mean is that the Holy Spirit, he's always at work in the church. And we're, right now, as I'm showing this, we're in the octave of Pentecost in the old calendar. And so we're very focused on the Holy Spirit and his activity in the church. We know for a fact that the Holy Spirit, he has promised the Holy Spirit, will work through ecclesial channels. What I mean by that is the sacraments will always be for therefore, the Holy Spirit will always work through valid sacraments. So we need those ecclesial orders, the priesthood, the episcopate, the papacy, we need those because they're necessary for the sacraments, but also for our official church teaching, how our teaching deposit of faith is handed on. We need those ecclesial channels, and the Holy Spirit will always work through those. But the Holy Spirit is not confined to those things, not confined to institutional charisms. And this has always been true. Look at the Franciscans, for example. [00:22:15] That was not, that did not start from an institutional channel. That started from some crazy guy in Assisi who saw a vision and said, okay, I'm going to rebuild the church. And he went around preaching like he stripped off all his clothes, went around preaching poverty, you know, love the lady poverty and, and all this stuff. And what happens, it has a great impact on the church. The Holy Spirit didn't say, okay, well, I have to work through a bishop. I have to work through the pope. That's one thing. You see, with the hyper papalist today, they think the only way they constrict the Holy Spirit, that you can only work through the pope. Only through the pope can we hear anything. The Holy Spirit only talks through him. Anybody else? Forget it. No, that's not the way the Holy Spirit works. He works through. Yes, through the papacy, through ecclesial channels, through institutional channels, but also outside of them. Now, the ecclesial institutional channels will do. Have to judge those eventually, over time. That doesn't happen instantaneously. For example, the Franciscan had to be approved by the church. [00:23:14] But I think this is an example of that kind of charismatic, outside the institution charism in that. Things like the Harrison butker speech, things like shart. Shart pro. Yeah, it's not that hard to pronounce pilgrimage. Things like that. This is how the Holy Spirit's working through, like these traditional mass communities that are building up here and there, through orthodox parishes that are building up kind of outside of the standard channels that the hierarchy of the church is imposing upon us now. Again, it has to stay within the institutional church. I'm not saying because there are dangers. There's no question at the time of St. Francis, there was other people who started movements that left the church, and they were condemned by the church, and they should have been. So it's not saying anybody who says, hey, I have a movement, the Holy Spirit's telling me this, we got to do this. That doesn't mean it all of a sudden is accurate. But it does. But what doesn't? But it does mean that sometimes it can be the Holy Spirit works outside those institutional chapters. And I think that's what's happening here, is we see kind of a charismatic lowercase c. Again, I'm not talking about the charismatic movement. [00:24:23] I'm talking about in general, just the idea of the Holy Spirit working in these. In these places. I mean, here it is, some guy who just gives a talk at a catholic college in Kansas, all of a sudden sets people on fire, really gets things going, gets people realizing what Catholicism really is. And also, I think that just, I see it and I hear it when I talk to this, why I like traveling. I actually hate traveling, the traveling part of it. But, like, I love going out and meeting people in real life, because I hear about how the Holy Spirit's working in these smaller communities, in smaller areas, and that is what is going to really make an impact on the church. So the irony here is that the 1960s priests still rule the church. Let's be honest, we know that. [00:25:11] But they're going to eventually be replaced with new priests, new bishops, who are more than likely going to represent the old. It might not happen soon. It might not even happen in my lifetime. I pray it happens in my children's lifetime, definitely my grandchildren's one day lifetime. [00:25:28] But I do think this is the inevitable path, because the progressive cause is sterile, it will die out. [00:25:37] The traditional cause is life giving, procreative, and so not, I don't mean just because we have more kids, that is part of it, but because simply what we're talking about is life giving. [00:25:52] And so I really think that is what's going to win the day eventually. And I think that's, that gives us a lot of reason for hope. I mean, honestly, this podcast is about hope, about the fact that we should have a lot of hope. I really do believe that because we see it right here. Yes, when we're in the midst of the battles and stuff, it can get very, it can seem hopeless because you see crazy people saying we should basically, you know, fire people who express their Catholicism publicly. But ultimately that, that causes a reaction. The body of Christ responds to that and says, okay, we're going to stand. We're going to preach the fullness of the truth. I think we see, we've seen that happen. So, so have hope. Brothers and sisters believe that the Holy Spirit is working as we celebrate this octave of Pentecost. Believe the Holy Spirit really is working in the church, maybe not through the hierarchy always, but definitely he is working inside the church to renew it and to really get it to a point where it can be that, that beacon of light for the entire world. Okay, now I will stop my sermon. I hope you enjoyed it. Please give. After the, after, after this, we'll have our collection baskets come up. But seriously, I do ask that you check out our fundraiser. It's going to be going on the next week or two. And give if you can. We really do appreciate that. Until next time, everybody. God love.

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