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tv   Garry Wills on The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis  CSPAN  May 2, 2015 8:00am-9:06am EDT

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much. >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and daughters every weekend, booktv, television serious readers. >> we have several programs for you this weekend. ..
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>> new york times columnist david brooks dissects the idea of character. former treasury secretary henry paulson takes a look at the evolution of china's capitalist system and much more. booktv, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend on c-span2. >> we kick off booktv this weekend with a program from politics & prose bookstore in washington d.c. with garry wills who questions whether pope francis is capable of producing significant change within the catholic church. [inaudible conversations]
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[applause] >> good evening everyone. thank you all so much for coming out tonight what an outstanding crowd, i'm not surprised. you've all picked a very good event to come to. i'm lissa muscatine and our staff and my co-owner and husband brad graham welcome all of you to this evening's event. just in case you're new to our events professor wills will speak for a bit and then is happy to take questions. we have a microphone up here and we really would like it if you could make it to the mic if you can questions. we videotape these events, we also have c-span here tonight,
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so it's really helpful if the various audiences in question can hear what you have as a question. we'll end in about an hour. if you don't have a copy of the book and would like one, we have plenty up front. professor wills will be happy to sign at the end. he asks given the magnitude of this crowd if you could limit your signing to this current book. sometimes people bring past books as well, but we'd like to keep it just to the current one. so please be mindful of that. and lastly, if you have a cell phone on and could silence it, we would appreciate it and we would also be grateful if at the end of the event if you're sitting in a chair and not standing if you could fold it up and put it to the side, that will expedite matters greatly. so thank you for all of that. it is, indeed, a pleasure to welcome garry wills back to politics & prose. we've been lucky enough to have
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hosted him for quite a few of his priest books. not all -- previous books. not all 40 or however many there are -- [laughter] i'm sure tonight's discussion will be no exception, professor wills will be discussing his new book "the future of the catholic church with pope francis." he is professor emeritus at northwestern university a frequent contributor to the new york review of books and other publications, the author of, as i said, i didn't count but it's up there, several dozen books covering a vast terrain of politics government history and religion. he's widely respected as one of america's e leading public intellectuals, and i guess if there's a subset that's allowed a leading catholic intellectual. and i do have to say given how prolific he's been, how influential he is, how widely regarded and how many subjects he has taken on, the question did arise from me, what is there
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left to say? it turns out and not surprisingly given the vast array of things he think thinks about, there's quite a bit left to say. his new book takes a fresh look at the catholic church with particular attention to the church's capacity for change and adaptation as it confronts the challenges of a new century. of course, the ascension of pope francis, a figure who has captivated people in and out of the faith, is the backdrop, and there surely is no better scholar, writer or thinker than garry wills to help us understand the institution its past present and future, and how it affects the lives of so many around the world. please join me in welcoming garry wills back to politics and prose. [applause] >> well, yeah, i have been coming here a long time. [laughter] and i always love to. the questions are always very intelligent.
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what's not to like about pope francis? he disappoints catholic liberals like me, but he scares the socks off conservatives. [laughter] they have reacted with panic and no wonder. it is a bit disorienting to have a pope who is actually a christian. [laughter] some on the right reassure themselves that he is changing the tone of catholicism but not its doctrine, and for them religion is just doctrine. if you do not hold the right doctrines, you cannot be a catholic. so since the pope is a catholic -- though some are beginning to hesitate about that -- [laughter] he must hold all the right doctrines. the only thing he can change is the tone. rather than tone, i would prefer to talk about changing the culture of religion the ethos
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of believing. as he told his jesuit interviewers the structural, the organizational reforms are secondary. the first reform must be in attitude. francis signals a culture change in everything he does; in what he calls himself, where he lives, what he wears even what he rides in. i'm going to take a quick look at those four before we get to the questions. first, his name. no pope has been called francis. when he came in second at the conclave that chose benedict, he was asked afterward what name he would have chosen had he been elected. and he said, john the 24th which tells you what was his mindset then. but he had time to think about
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it afterward and he obviously thought deeply and came up with a far more audacious choice. francis was not a priest. no other pope has been named after a layman. usually they go for previous popes or bishops or cardinals or whatever. and francis was subversive. he was too radical for his own first followers. as soon as he died, the order splintered off into all kinds of ways of saying, well he meant absolute poverty but that couldn't be true. [laughter] so there were various observances and spiritualist francis cans and conventional ones. so that was a thing that surprised me from the outset, the name. second, where he lives. the fact that francis is not living in the papal palace has
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mainly been discussed in terms of luxury versus austerity. but that is not what he emphasizes. he says it's a matter of loneliness versus company. he says i cannot live alone. i must live my life with others. now, popes rarely say they need others. the elaborate entry rituals of the palace dramatize the ruler's apartment, his self-sufficient -- apartness his self-sufficiency. francis takes all kinds of measures like placing his own phone calls eating at the common table to say that he is like you and me. the casa santa maria is a place of trance yens. it was built in '96 to house
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cardinals before they meet a new pope. before that they had slept on cots divided by curtains in the halls and offices of the papal palace. the cardinals have no communication with the outside world by telephone radio or tv, and after a while when the conclave is over, some transient people are allowed. i had a scholar friend who was doing work in the vatican library, and he said i had not been without tv or radio or telephone for a long time then. he also was without his wife, because they didn't allow women inside the vatican at night. [laughter] the rooms are equal and assigned by lot while attending the conclave with his fellowals, hover -- fellow cardinals, jorge had room 201.
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after his selection as pope, he moved to the slightly larger room of 207. he celebrates mass in the chapel, not in any of the big altars in the vatican. he has to use reception areas in the papal palace for some functions, but he's a visitor there just like the people he is receiving. it's not an expression of his normal living space. there are deep meanings to that arrangement. before when people went to the pope's residence, it was like a goal of pilgrimage to the suspect of e ecclesiastical grandeur. in the casa santa marta the pope is a traveler living with his fellow pilgrims. third, what he wears. as a palace sets a man apart, so do ceremonial clothes. jesus wore no ecclesiastical garments. neither did priests or bishops for a long time. even as late at the fifth
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century. but when my great hero, st. augustine, was the bishop of hippo. now whenever he's painted, sculpted whatever, he wears all the finely of a bishop that was in the muddle ages, the ring, the robe, the slippers. he wore street clothes in the fifth century up to that point. we were still not clothing our priests and bishops as rule ors. now, francis has to wear some papal regalia given what his past between -- has passed between now and then but he keeps it as simple as he can; a miter, which all bishops wear, a beanie a plain white suit. offered the ceremonial shoes after his election -- and remember the previous pope had worn the red shoes made for him
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by prada -- laugh. [laughter] he said, no thank you, and he kept the shoes he had come with because he has a bad back, as i do, and he wears the same kind of therapeutic shoes. [laughter] one cannot imagine him wearing the cloak with the long train cowered by a flunk key that cardinal ray monday burke still -- raymond burke still likes to wear. [laughter] rulers often assert the primacy of their office by the more layers of symbol they can wrap around their body. in shedding many of these francis is performing a kind of spiritual strip tease. [laughter] as francis his namesalk, threw off the rich clothes his father's wealth had made possible and went back out into the world wearing raggings. i don't know -- rags. have you been to assisi? when you go there and go into the museum place there in a case it shows the pope, the garb
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he was wearing when he died. it was a rag. it was patched. i'm sure the pope would like to wear that if he could. [laughter] fourth, what he rides. francis cannot travel around rome by bus the way he did as the archbishop and the cardinal of buenos buenos aires. though he took the bus with his fellow cardinals when he went back to casa santa marta right after he was elected. in his first trip into rome, his diocese, he was not in a limousine escorted by a vatican police car accident he was in the police car -- police car, he was in the police car. [laughter] and he has followed his own warnings that bishops should not be driven in flashy cars. each on the papal airplane he mingles with journalists and it's typical of him that when he was invited to the conclave, he
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was sent a first class ticket, and he traded it for coach. but are such gestures, such tone enough? the pope has a really difficult job because no other pope in history has lived with the prior preceding pope right down the street. and, of course, loyalists of benedict and of john paul are still in very important places in and around the vatican. he doesn't want to break the continue knewty of the church -- continuity of the church by any casualing with them. in fact, he's extraordinarily gracias. in his first major statement, he quotes john paul and francis -- i mean, and benedict and paul vi constantly. look at the notes in the back, and it's all papal citation
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that, yes, he is part of a continuing church and tradition. and because of his experience as a provincial in this argentina -- in argentina, it was very hard for him to hold together the truckses of the time -- the traditions of the time and the oppression of the government. he said that he made a great many mistakes, that he did not include people or consult people enough. he said he was put in too young and he said that was crazy. so one of the first things he said as pope was i've been wrong. and he doesn't want to be wrong again. one of the things he does not want to do is join one faction of the church against another faction. he doesn't want to join the right or the left. he cannot join the right wing because it's just too mean.
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ecclesiastical conservatives like to pun itch, to exclude -- pun itch, to exclude to use dock run the as a weapon. their typical action is to deny the sacraments to erring politicians. on this, the pope has written: the eucharist is not a prize for the perfect. [laughter] it's a medicine for the weak. frequently, we act as arbiters of grace rather than its facilitators. those who turn away people from the sacrament remind me of the fair cease who said stay away from that jesus, he dines with sinners. now we have bishops saying we've got sinners out there and they're not going to dine with my jesus. francis' distance from such people is expressed in the joy of the gospel. he says rather than expert or in door prediction, doer judges
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bent on rooting out every threat and deviation, we should appear as joyful messagers of hope, guardians of the -- messengers of hope. so he doesn't want to be with that faction. on the other hand, he doesn't want to join the other side either because he knows that we lefties are too often the smarty pants at the party. [laughter] we're know-it-alls. the effects of vatican ii were blunted not only by papal reactionaries, but by liberals' rush to jettison practices that many people loved; fasting novinas, various devotions. francis, like john xxiii likes pope religion. in his sparsely appointed room
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he has a statute of our lady of lujan. she's the patron virgin of argentina. he said, expressions of popular piety have much to teach us. for those who are capable of reading them, they demand our attention especially at a time when we are looking to the new advantagelyization. evangelization. he said also we should be shepherds, and shepherds have to get out and know the smell of the sheep. he said if you love the people of god you will love what they love. he's like pope john xxiii in that. john xxiii did not change the church from the top by himself. he called in the bishops for a council, and the bishops called in a whole generation of theologians who had been silenced by pius x irk i.
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xii. when a preliminary report indicated a relaxing of language on gays and on communion for the divorced, conservative bishops objected, and the language was watered down for the final report. some took that as a setback for the pope. but he did not take sides then; rather he congratulated the bishops for their freedom for their willingness to debate, for their openness and hon few. john allen calls his speech at the end one of the best ones he's made in his papacy. but then he did something very important. he said, let's publish the proceedings. now, the synods were set up after vatican ii to be a voice from the people true their representatives -- through their representatives and a collegiate expression of sharing office of the pope with the bishops. but john paul said that the synods were getting out of hand, and he made them be secret.
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they couldn't publish the proceedings, and they had to turn them over just to the pope who could do with them what he wanted; do nothing or change it whatever. this pope has said because there's a preliminary synod and there's going to be a follow-up this year, he said, well, let's see what the issues are and how we're debating them and what we're voting for. and now the bishops going into the second synod know that what they say is going to be known -- [laughter] and how they voted. pope francis rightly sees his mission as not just to catholics, i but to all believers in jesus and indeed to all believers in god. he says there's only one god and the holy spirit acts through all people who are seeking that one god. as the arch bishop of buenos aires, he prayed with van
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jobbings -- evangelicals, in fact, he shocked people by kneeling down and accepting their blessing in public. in the joy of the gospel his major statement so far he praises the spiritual message of the quran and says that muslims, too, are guided by the holy spirit toward the one god. there's only one. and that we can learn from the treasures they have built up over centuries of belief. at a time when people like senator lindsey graham are calling for a holy war against a billion and a half muslims -- [laughter] perhaps the most important contribution this pope will ever make will be to make us give up this holy war. that in itself would make him a world historical figure worthy of his namesake from assisi. thanks. [applause]
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now, where are the mics? nobody has any questions? this has never happened at politics & prose. [laughter] >> professor -- >> ah, hello. how are you? >> you tonight described yourself as a lefty in the church. i'm wondering whether there was any event that turned you into a lefty? anything you read, or was it an accumulation of experiences? >> well, theologically it was august steep of hippo who made me a -- augustine of hippo who made me a lefty. that is, i encountered things in him i had not expected. he certainly didn't believe in papal infallibility because there was no pope in the fourth century. but politically i was changed
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from writing for bill buckley by the civil rights movement and the vietnam war. as a lot of people were changed by those events. >> hello. my name is coleman mccarthy -- >> oh, how are you? i'm such a fan. [applause] >> and i go back many years with you, garry when you and i just started out at the national catholic reporter. >> yep. >> when you were the conservative voice -- >> yes. [laughter] >> -- up against john leo who was then a liberal. and now john leo is a conservative, and you're a liberal. >> right. [laughter] >> so there is a god. [laughter] i'd like to ask you garry, are you as disappointed and even
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justifiably angry that the catholic church is not a pacifist church? the catholic church -- never been a pope who tells catholics don't go in the military. the catholic church now supplies chaplains. notre dame has the biggest rotc program in the country. do you think it'll ever happen that the cat luck church will be a pass -- catholic church will be a pass the u.s. church as are the men nonnights and the quakers? i'd love to hear your thoughts, garry. >> did people hear that question? yeah. all christians should be pacifists, all reasonable people should be pacifists. paul vi when he spoke at the u.n. said no more war and many popes have said no more war. this pope is now saying no holy war ever.
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but that doesn't get back down to the actual performance of christians. and for good reason. popes led wars, led crusades. today had kingdoms -- they had kingdoms, they used them in horrible ways. and it's all of the trappings of monarchy that have begun to be wrested away in the 19th century when the temporal rule was taken away from popes have given a little more voice at least. i hope you read the last week's new yorker on the christian pacifists who are he rowicly christian -- heroically christian. many of the people in there were good friends of mine. when i lived in baltimore, i was often over at jonah house with phil barrigan and flew back for his funeral from chicago. with as, you know, chesterton
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said christianity habit failed -- hasn't failed christians have failed to be christians and that's certainly true. i hope this pope is nudging us a little more away from that. >> hi. i'm just curious your interpretation of the election and how francis won and being entered in politics, i'm entered in how these kinds of things really happen. so in addition to the holy spirit, of course. [laughter] >> well, that's a very good question. he -- oh the question was why did they ever elect this guy? [laughter] his record was ambiguous. and when he was trying to save
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christians and fellow jesuits from the military government during the dirty war in argentina, he was seen as not supporting enough the liberation theology wing of the jesuit order which caused longstanding hard feelings between him and a large number of jesuits. there was a rift between him and jesuits, and planing that is -- explaining that is something that would take a little too long. but he hadn't made arrangements after ceasing to be provincial to retire to a home that's not of jesuits and to be buried in a cemetery that's not of jesuits. so one of the first things he did when he became pope was ininstantly tried to heal that rift. called them, went to their place. and, of course, he gave that long interview six hours spread over three days, to the joint
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jesuit magazines. so now, of course, the jesuits are very proud of him. [laughter] but that made -- this is saying more than i know -- that may well have played a part in the fact that it was john paul who made him a bishop to, and john paul who made him a cardinal, and he didn't do that with people he didn't trust. i think he felt this is a man who had opposed liberation theology, this is a man who was at odds with the jesuits. and john paul hated jesuits. [laughter] the jesuits many of them, are convinced he tried to suppress the order. and he tried to replace its influence with the ones he did favor, legion of christ communion and liberation. all those fairly right-wing groups he favored.
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so i think that given that ambiguity, they were not sure that he was entirely on their side. but they didn't think he was entirely on the other side either. now, who knows why each of those bishops voted. i think a lot of them were scared. the scandals were accumulating. they needed somebody from outside. the church is growing in the less developed world, and they needed somebody to express that. they figured he's old. [laughter] what can he do? [laughter] you know, that's what they thought about john xxiii too. [laughter] there's a pendulum swing often observed between a long papacy and a short one. when they finally got rid of that long papacy of pius xii or
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of john paul -- and benedict as an addition to that -- then they do say we need a little fresh air in this musty place. >> you've talked about -- okay. i'm short. you've talked about steps that francis has taken to shift culture. but what hopes do you have that he may actually do something to shift doctrine? and what doctrines do you think he might be interested in shifting? i'm particularly interested in his views on women and the church. >> did you hear that question? >> no. >> she said he's changing the culture, but will he change doctrine, especially on women? john, and xxii did not change
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doctrine on his own by papal fiat. the pope is not a king. what he did was call the council. and then changes took place there. very deep and important changes especially on the whole business of the cursed jewish race that this were cursed for killing christ. that's one of the deepest, most wounding, most terrible things about the church, and the council changed that. now, i should say that it's not easy for rulers and especially ones who start thinking they're absolute rulers, to reverse course. as we found out when paul vi couldn't reverse course on contraception he was told without destroying the credibility of the church. but lots of things get changed in the church. they become dead letters.
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the interdict indulgences. there have been a number of cases where the catholics just stopped believing it without having to say oh, god, were we ever wrong. [laughter] you know, that's happening now with the sacrament of penance. nobody's going to confession. they don't have to change the teaching on it, it'll justice appear. and that's happened often. and things came in, for instance the celibate priesthood came in as a mast of usage -- matter of usage not of doctrine, and that could be changed easily. now, on the role of women the church is behind the liberation of women, but so were we until very recently.
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patriarchy is the sin of all cultures practically and to writing out from under it -- wriggle out from under it has been a difficult thing for metropolitans. for americans. women are becoming more important. see, i don't want women priests. i don't want proosts.-- priests. [laughter] you know, there are no proosts in the gospel, in the letters of paul. he never calls himself a priest. he calls himself a lot of things and his coworkers a lot of things. but peter never in his letter attributed to him never calls himself a priest. he says i'm addressing my fellow elders. that was the highest office that was conceivable at that point. so as a matter of fact, since the priesthood is slunking -- is. >> rinking so drastically to a
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small group and a very old group, women are doing a lot. in my church the campus church at northwestern university, we've had for the third of a century i was there five or so priests. they come and go, and a bishop tells us. we have no say over that, but we've had women that we chose ourselves who were the real leaders of the community. when the first one of those retired, students came back from around the country to say when i was having trouble with my studies, it was mary, mary kip decade who got -- kincaid who got me through. and she's the one who helped us prepare for marriage. she's the one who cat ciezed our children when they were born. we never had that kind of ceremony for a priest that left us. and she's been replaced by another woman who's had as long
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a tenure and as important an influence. and by the way both of them preached homilies until the cardinal stopped them. but that's, you know, now priests are so much in demand they have to run from parish to powerrish to parish sawing mass three and -- saying mass three and four times a day. and so naturally the laity have to step up and do a lot of things especially in control of the finances. one of the side effects a good effect of the horrible sex scandal, is that the laity started asking what's this money going to all these plaintiffs for? so the women's influence is going to grow. it's already growing. you know, one of the things that the church did was exclude everybody from studying theology because it was all done in
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latin, and women were not supposed to study theology and didn't. now there are brilliant women theologians in the catholic church and outside and other parts of christianity. i use the seminary library at north western as much as the other one because of some things i write. when i started going there in 1980, it was all male. all people studying for the ministry were male. then more and more there are a lot of women then there were equal numbers now there are more women than men. so the pope will not declare women are equal but they'll -- he'll recognize it when he sees it. [laughter] popes may not like it when they see it but they know what it is. yes, sir. >> thank you. going back to your early example, i happen not to be roman catholic, but the more i
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learn about francis the more i have very deep feelings that i would like to follow him and that he really understands the primacy of the two great commandments. would you expand on your comment about how he is influencing other denominations and other faiths? >> the we -- the question was isn't the pope influencing non-catholics as well as catholics? is he ever. in fact, i just came from a reading in austin, texas and somebody got up and said why do non-catholics like him better than catholics? [laughter] and i said maybe maybe it's because he rereminds some to people of jesus. next? >> sir, your first book was about g.k. chestertop -- >> yes.
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>> who was also, coincidentally, a bowger if of st. francis. >> yes. >> i was wondering, could you hazard a guess what chesterton would think of pope francis? >> the question is -- i'm a big chesterton fan -- what would chesterton think about pope francis? well, he would love him. what's not to love? and the thing is, chesterton -- although he had some bad views especially on je work jews -- he said democracy is like blowing your nose. you may not do it very well, but you have to do it yourself. [laughter] i think he would recognize the democratic spurt of pope francis who wants -- spirit of pope francis who wants to be with the people, out there with them. he says get out of your rectories and go -- one of the
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reasons that hard feelings came up in the jesuit order is that he took a couple people out of the slums who were working there because he felt they were endangered. but many jesuits thought he didn't support them enough. when he became archbishop, he he would take the bus and go to those slums and say i want priests to get out there get the smell of the sheep. he said i admired a priest because he knew the name of every dog in the slum. [laughter] >> you began by saying catholics are particularly addicted to doctrine or many kinds -- >> right-wing catholics. >> yes. but doctrine is not going to disappear from the catholic church. we do it reflexively. it just happens. [laughter] and can you indicate what you think might be the direction
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that doctrine will evolve in a useful and helpful kind of way rather than in the excluding and condemn that story way that it has in many years? >> yes. the question is doctrine is not all bad what doctrine can we develop that's more -- no. the really important doctrines were formulated in the early councils formulated in the east in councils that popes didn't even attend. and what gave them the power to enunciate what christian belief was then the emperor called together parts of his empire to try to blush communication between -- establish communication between all of the bishops. and let me start over and say
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that cardinal rat singer, before he balm pope, was asked at one point are you upset that so many catholics don't believe what the vatican says they should believe on contraception abortion, married priests whatever, and he said, no, that doesn't surprise me. doctrine is not reached by vote, but by revelation. well, as a matter of fact doctrine was reached by vote. [laughter] at knew see ya they debated the trinity, the incarnation, the great truth, the great dock p transcribes, and there was a majority and a minority vote, and the majority won. and the bishops had been elected. they were elected by the press by to haves, and the press bier thes were not collected, they were dragooned. because the way you became a priest in the fourth century was to have a community say we want you to be a priest, so you have to be.
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and people tried to avoid that. a.m. bros did. a.m. bros did. and they went to the emperor and said we want him, and so he has to come to us. the people were the voice of god. and once you were chosen, you could never leave. you were married to that community. you were the leader of that community. they had made you and they -- augustine when he traveled to cartage for council, asked for permission from his community. so that was so true that you were, that the bishop was united with his community and the expression of it that during most of the muddle ages no -- middle ages no bishop could become pope. he would have to leave his people. so you had abbotts and deacons and aristocratic sons and people like that becoming pope, but no
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bishops. it doesn't strike must have people how odd that was that now you have to be a bishop to even be considered to be a pope. then you couldn't be a pope because you were a bishop. now, the question was about what doctrines are expressive of christianity and should be developed. it's the doctrines that are reached the way they were at nycea that call together the people of god and say how are you living with jesus, and what is important to do that in a better way. that's the real source of doctrine. >> hello professor wills. i'm just curious about just because the pope is coming to the united states later this year, and he's supposedly going to publish a very highly attempted and cyclical -- encyclical on climate changes as well as many of his choices for
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the congregation of the bishops as well as for the archdiocese of chicago who is apparently a huge follower of him going out onto the streets. i was just curious what are your views on pope francis' visit to the united states as well as some of his choices as well as new bishops and new cardinals coming up into the church? >> well, the question what about the visit to the united states, what do you anticipate. i don't predict. i hope. but the trouble with this pope if you are into the prediction game, is that he says i get up every morning and i want to be surprised. [laughter] and so far he's been surprising us that way. and i hope he continues to do it. the choice of soupage as our
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cardinal in chicago replacing a very conservative. he's the person who stopped the homilies at our church. it showed that he does want shepherds who have the smell of the sheep. he wants people who are real pastors. now, there was that litmus test in the preceding popes. the careerism -- you knew that your path up in the church was to meet the demands of the pope on abortion, contraception etc. etc., etc., and so what we had was a two-tiered church. take contraception. every pole that's been taken shows that over 80% of catholics in their fertile years practice contraception. the priests all know that and don't make a big deal about it. i don't ever remember hearing a priest's homily inveigh against
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contraception. the bishops don't care about that, this were addressing only rome. they were looking up to the pope saying, whoa i think contraception's just horrible. i think it's so horrible that i'm going to intrude into american politics and say that obamacare is evil because it takes away the religious freedom of catholics not to have any contraception. they've got it. they've exercised their freedom. that's a totally hypocritical argument. i know people who refuse to be ordained when -- [inaudible] came out saying, and certain bishops said if you adopt agree with this teaching on contraception, i won't ordain you. they didn't get ordained. some people lied, you know? the way to go, to succeed in the
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you are. -- in the church was to be a hypocrite. so those are things that will work themselves out by walking. what cat lucks actually believe and do -- catholics actually believe and do will determine our future. >> so you seem to actually like a lot about pope francis and you also seem to really understand the formidable forces and challenges in front of him the constraints. and he's only been there two years. so why are you disappointed? >> why what? >> why do you say you are disappointed in him? >> well no pope can make up for all the horrible things that have happened. i know victims of successes yule abuse, and i know -- sexual
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abuse, and i know people like snap their friends who have been pressuring the church for some kind of heroic penitence. and they're not satisfied with pope. i'm not satisfied and in a way one of us can be. i don't know exactly what they expect him to do. he's set up commissions and committees and he's beginning some of the punishment. you know one of the problems is that there was such complicity in the coverup such kind of insting chul resistance to any challenge that practically all the bishops are guilty of the cover up. they were acting by a code. you know, it's like the police code, you know attack any of
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us, and we're so lidfied fitness you. well, that happened with the bishops, even the bishops who did not actively ignore complaints. there was such a web of suppression of evidence, it was so horrifying, you know, i've talked to a number of victims x they're -- the aura around the priests was such that when they finally convinced their mother and father that father so and so had done that, the first reaction of the parents was not to believe it. when they finally got the parents believing and went to the priest, the proost would say, oh, no, that can't have happened. when they finally got lawyers and made the diocese start trembling, they started financial set almosts with the proviso that they not take the
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story to the press or people. buying the silence. so exposing other people to what happened to them because that didn't come out. in rome itself the whole vatican reacted with a -- this can't be true, it can't be true on that scale, it's just in america, it's just this, it's just that. and when that was being said by all kinds of very influential people and in the vatican organs, no bishop stood up and said, stop this. we have to realize what wrong we've done, and is we can't continue it. but they didn't. so i suppose a proportionate response would be to fire all the bishops. but i don't think he's going to.
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[laughter] >> there is some things about him, although i'm a fan of him too. anyway, thank you. >> thank you for your books. >> no, thank you. >> i was noticing in the latest interview or one of the latest interviews the pope did i think this was the newspaper in the slums of buenos aires -- >> yeah. >> will -- that he talked about the fact that his papacy would not be a long one and that he might be with us for four or five years. i'm wounderring if we should take that -- wondering if we should take that at face value or if that's kind of the trickster in the pope. and if he were to end his papacy in the next couple of years what's the likely scenario for what would happen next in terms of the next pope? >> the question was the pope's old, he says that. he has said that he's not got much time left. one of us do at that -- i'm his age.
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and what will happen when he dies? i hope that we will not depend on the pope as much when he dies, because he's telling us not to. that we will be acting like the people of god as we should have all along. and just as in america once you get something like the club ration of women finish the liberation of women the recognition of gays going, it can be very hard to stop. one of the great things about america is the speed with which the feminist movement has put women in very high office and all kinds of spheres. and barney frank in his new book apparently, i haven't read it yet, said that he would never have believed that recognition of gay marriage would actually take place with the speed that
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it has. i think the same kind of ferment, yeast can work in the church when you have a john xxuii or -- xxiii or francis i. >> hi. some time ago i attended a lecture at the dominican school of theology given by a writer i think in these first times and he was discussing the demise of carl ranker as impacting the formation of priests and theologians today and that there's a trend now to return to the solid teachings of st. thomas aquinas. do you think this pope has has he ever expressed an
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preponderance on this issue? -- an opinion on this issue? >> well, he was in a dominican lecture on the demise of carl ran or and he was hoping that thomas aquinas would get back into -- the interesting thing is that ranker was a jesuit. so i'm surprised that he was a hero e at this dominican -- when you wanted to go back to aquinas, it depends on which one you want to go back to. aquinas was a great saint and liberator of thought. but he has left a terrible legacy. of course, he was a defender of the papal power temporal power. that was his world. that's all he knew. and he was also a great admirer of aristotle and thought that recovering aristotle in the
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west, which was done, by the way, through muslims was very important. so natural law will tell us things that are not in scripture. welcome flush out morality -- we can flush out morality from thomas aquinas. the trouble with that is aristotle meant things like males are bigger and stronger than females so they should rule. that's the order of nature. if that were not the order of nature they wouldn't have been made dig bigger and -- made bigger and stronger. so akauai nas went along and said oh, that's great, that's great. and then he came across the question of the status of the 'em write owe -- embryo, and he said aristotle said the embryo should be killed if the parents were weak and debilitated. they were not fit for life. and then when they were born, if
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they were weak and small, they should be disposed of. you can't kill them without getting pollution but this should be exposed -- but they should be exposed. drop them in the woods and let them die there. at that point akauai nas should have been -- aquinas should have begun questioning whether this natural law business is so important. [laughter] you can argue, of course, that natural law is survival of the fittest, if we want to survive we have to get rid of the unfit. that's natural law according to aristotle. so people -- aquinas was made the official theologian of the church, and augustine was kind of forgotten. i was at a jesuit seminary and was trained by jesuits. and they never we never had a course on augustine. many courses on aquinas. one of the reasons is that
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augustine was a favorite of both luther and calvin. and so in effect, they -- the leaders of the church the catholic church, said, well, we don't need him we've got aquinas. he's sound. but he's not sound on lots and lots of things. and augustine is, he has his problems too, but he's a much more liberating mind. >> i think we have time for two more questions and just as a reminder if you don't have a copy of the book and would like one, we have plenty of up front, and we'll do the signing afterwards. two more questions, and i think we're going to end it there so thank you very much. >> with the growth of the church in the southern hemisphere, i don't know that much about latin america, but within africa it seems to be extraordinarily conservative. and you mentioned the natural law. you hear that a lot in africa. so my question is, what's the
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future going to be like in the church if we are looking to this huge growth not only in the population of the church in the southern hemisphere, but the leadership of the church? do you see that continuing, and what are the implications? >> yeah. the question is isn't the church growing especially in the less develop asked countries, and what's -- developed countries, and what's the future portend from that? yes, it is. and francis, of course is an expression of that even though his her taj is italian. -- heritage is italian. he spoke only northern dialect with his grandmother of italian from around torino. so he embraced the evangelical movement in the less develop canned -- developed countries. as i said he knelt for their blessing. he has a great sympathy for a
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lot of the developments there. what we're seeing is a kind of repetition of the history of our church at an earlier stage of saying the western church. a much more attractive thing to become a priest in some of those countries because there's no other way to get an education and escape poverty or whatever tribal ties people have. so you've got a lot of what happened in the early middle ages of the proost hood was the only -- priesthood was the only way you could become learned influential, those things, those kinds of things. ..
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i have not -- really -- these questions for that prescription. i tried to think of one. when i got out their eyes that if he returned to your country, what would you do different? and he said i would disestablish the religion. the american way is the right way, freedom of conscience. as we were going out i said for that don't you need an indictment? he said there is the problem. his very next book addressed the
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question, why have buddhists not come to terms with science? that is going to be a question they have to come to terms with the enlightenment. >> i am curious about how friends of yours in the clergy have responded to your work and more generally held open you think the clergy is, in america specifically to reforms of the clergy? >> i didn't get the second part. >> how often you think the clergy, i guess it would depend on the denomination but in america, open to reform such as marriage and that sort of thing. >> the question that the priests could, with the development
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reflective of understandable need for organization in the church, scriptural times, early church times but it should not have a monopoly on the holy spirit. you know, what happened with the priesthood as with all offices of power was it turned imperialists tech, not only are we good for st. mass you can't get married without our blessing, the script jerome marriage power of the church in the new testament, it was the jewish wedding there were no priests. how did priests react to my book? it doesn't say they are not fine
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once they are around. if they are loving they will help us organize ourselves as christian but we don't need them for everything and we don't need them for the eucharist either because there's no transubstantiation in the early church. that is the thirteenth century doctrine. but how caprice reacted to that i only know the ones who like it. [laughter] >> that doesn't mean a lot of other people don't hate it. although the ones who have expressed hate not to me personally but in some publications, they want the priests to tell them what to do more than the priests want to tell the montero at least the ones that i know. they knew i was not attacking
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the priesthood. what happens now is catholics if they come to church on sunday and there is no priest shows up they say there is nothing for us to do, let's get out of here. that would not have happened in augustine's church because he would have taught them you are the people and when bread and wine are put on the altar they are you and receive what you are the body of christ. priests are very nice, most of the my like. they make contributions, the spirit only sends grace through this one conduit. if that were true all of the protestants would be


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