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.@austeni starting his lecture @CRCfordham titled" Pope Francis: Reform and Resistance" introducing his new biography, "Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis’s Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church."
@austeni @CRCfordham "The dogs are barking, it's a sign we are moving ahead," Austen says Francis likes to say. Ivereigh makes a distinction between criticism and opposition. Pope welcomes criticisms; he is self-critical. Then there is "the opposition of the evil spirits"
@austeni @CRCfordham He dislikes "hidden resistance" and then "malicious resistance" which is what we are seeing now, and what Ivereigh is speaking about here @CRCfordham
@austeni @CRCfordham "Everything is filtered through an 'ideology of suspicion'" by a party that is trying to undermine him. "This is a direct attack on his leadership" but "of course they don't see it that way." They say it is justified in name of saving the church, and in "name of Tradition."
@austeni @CRCfordham What you have here, he says, is a lot of "invidia," in the Latin sense, a "not seeing, a kind of blindness," like the Pharisees. Ivereigh says he thought a lot about the Pharisaical opposition to Jesus, "and finding a lot of similairities," a "rivalry" at heart
@austeni @CRCfordham Of course Francis is not Christ but it is a similar dynamic: religion "ceases a thing you possess," and when you lose control of religion it becomes threatening says @austeni

It shows "this pontificate is a place of spiritual combat."
@austeni @CRCfordham This makes us understand where real change is taking place, it's about a conversion.

@austeni wants to illustrate this through the the story of the Amazon Synod from which he has just returned.
@austeni @CRCfordham He notes the "evangelization and enculturation go hand in hand" and elites, "the Empire if you will," can't take this because they lose control to another culture. The Empire sees semi-naked peoples of Amazon "and see savages."
@austeni @CRCfordham Francis, on the other hand, said "the pastoral dimension of the Synod" explains all other dimensions and debates. It goes against all colonializing attitudes that demean them.
@austeni @CRCfordham This is the heart of the Francis reform: to create a church that emulates the salvific action of God, a God who comes to us, respects our culture, comes to us, walks with us.

All Francis does is geared to this, to bring the Church closer to the wounds of humanity.
@austeni @CRCfordham So was Synod all about married priests and women deacons? These are important and need debating, says Austen. But the opposition was not directed at those issues as much as at this effort to bring Church closer to people, to emulate "the closeness of God."
@austeni @CRCfordham The people of God were speaking to the Church saying 'We need you with us, we need you close to us."

The opposition said this was HERESY.
@austeni @CRCfordham Ivereigh notes the huge "eruption" about the absurd 'pachama' grew out of EWTN-fueled panic that never asked indigenous people themselves about the "idols."

"The People of God speak and they are told they are heretics, the People of God pray and they are told they are pagans."
@austeni @CRCfordham Ivereigh says it is striking that the fiercest opposition comes just as Pope and Church show the "wounds of humanity." Francis washing feet of Muslim women at Holy Thursday provoked rage from so many.

Or fury elicited by photo of Pope Francis meeting with @JamesMartinSJ
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ Ivereigh makes good point that whether it is reaching out to divorced and remarried, to indigenous, to refugees, to LGBT, to women, that is when those who have enjoyed power in the Church are triggered most by Pope Francis.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ Ivereigh pivots to Latin American context for Bergoglio/Francis, and notes that LatAm Church is really only region that took John XXIII's "discerning signs of the times" to heart.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ "The Church has to change in order to evangelize contemporary modernity," says @austeni
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ For Francis "the experience not the idea" is the foundation of evangelization. It's not an idea. "To offer Christ as simply an idea or set of ethical principles" is to deny the Incarnation.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ Francis loves to cite B16 at start of Deus Caritas Est who says exactly this. This approach is embodied in mercy. It must begin with the encounter though, "and everything flows from that."
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ 3 obervations from @austeni about The Resistance to Francis: 1) It operates from central maze of bunkers here in the US. And with help of number of US bishops, 25-30, who are "in state of semi-schism."

"I don't think I'm saying anything controversial."

@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ He says closest analogy is 19th century Francis where they make Catholicism co-terminous with reaction. It took Leo XIII to break that explicitly.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ Francis has been breaking stranglehold between Church and Republican Party agenda, and is parallel to Leo's affect on French Church in 19th century. Laudato Si on environment akin to Rerum Novarum.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ "What does a pope know about economics" said the haute bourgeoisie in Francis, same as those who say Francis shouldn't talk about science.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ 2) point is flight from modernity and resistance to it. "A lot of projection onto the Church what these opponents need psychologically."

Their views lead to reduction of faith to ideology.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ "We are called to discern situations not to debaqte ideas" in times of tribulation, he quotes Francis to the bishops of Chile. To refuse the discernment question is to give into temptation to blame others for your misfortune.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ You not only have victim complex as a result of thise view, sayd @austeni but you yourself become more moralistic and dogmatic.

He is speaking @CRCfordham event on his newest biograqphy of Pope Francis.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ "It's joyless moralism," because of "state of permanent anxiety."

Constant appeal to "Truth" but always starts with a sense of anxiety. They always lament "confusion" and regurgitate banal bits of catechism.

"Who's confused? says @austeni "I'm not confused."

@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ This leads to terrible diagnoses, best example is their diagnosis of the sex abuse crisis by likes of Viganó and Cdls Mueller and Burke.

"Reason they have success is that their pronouncements are suited to our post-truth environment." says @austeni
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ Post-truth feeds off of fear and grievance culture. If it feels true that's enough. Opposition to Pope Francis uses this. They start out with myth of confusion in Church and then offer to supply a narrative.

They have a "post-truth theology," says @austeni in a good coinage.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ "It paints itself as authentic interpreter of Tradition but is in fact very far from Tradition," Ivereigh says of the Opposition.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ Ivereigh concludes with an interesting riff on Bergoglio's take on "the isolated conscience." And how such people are attach to other things, wealth and power. And certatinties. "How the isolated conscience hardens the heart," Francis wrote of Jonah refusing mission to Nineveh.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ Now a conversation with @austeni and @HolmanMK who is getting doctoral dissertation on Chenu and church and controversy here @FordhamTheology
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ @HolmanMK @FordhamTheology Good Q: is your genre of the Francis biography history, journalism or apologetics that defends the Pope from both progressive and conservative critics?

@austeni calls it "narrative nonfiction" and rejects critique of "hagiography."
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ @HolmanMK @FordhamTheology "My role is to explain how he thinks and what he is doing." says Iveriegh. Says he talks about a lot of what he got wrong in sex abuse crisis. He understand impatience with Francis on women. But if you push things too far you get pushback that can reverse it
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ @HolmanMK @FordhamTheology Like on women deacons, first commission he called "inconclusive," so he called an Amazon Synod that asked to re-open it, which he is doing. Says he goes where story takes him, not "burnishing his reputation." But he does admire Francis and how he leads.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ @HolmanMK @FordhamTheology Can the clerical system ever fully fix itself, asks @HolmanMK in perceptive Q. "Francis is himself a cleric."

Iveriegh note Francis himself is an outsider, but one can exaggerate that. He's not a maverick. He comes out of a deep ecclesiastical tradition in Latin America.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ @HolmanMK @FordhamTheology Like on celibacy, he's not going to end it .... But he calls for synods that can lead to greater flexibility. But he says he can undertake "substantial change" because he understand so deeply the ecclesiastical culture and Tradition.

Reform from within, I guess. Thoughts?
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ @HolmanMK @FordhamTheology Mary Kate wonders if clericalism is worse in RC Church because of all-male priesthood and if Francis because of his immersion in that cannot see that.

Ivereigh says Francis' reform of the priesthood (and training of priests) has been much deeper and little noticed
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ @HolmanMK @FordhamTheology What should American Catholics do when they are embroiled in this intense oppositional and ideological culture?

@austeni says it's not universal, notes Cdl Dolan said he wouldn't withhold Communion from Joe Biden as an SC priest did.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ @HolmanMK @FordhamTheology His advice: "I think Francis' vision for the Church was beautifully laid out in speech to @USCCB during Sept 2015 visit."

Pull back from culture wars, expand the feast, go to the peripheries.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ @HolmanMK @FordhamTheology @USCCB Cardinal Farrell of DC said to Ivereigh, he would go around to Catholic schools, kids would all be totally against abortion--but couldn't tell you why. They couldn't tell you anything about why they loved Jesus.

The effort to reconquer the public square politically has failed.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ @HolmanMK @FordhamTheology @USCCB Andrea Bartoli of Sant'Egidio Community asks about "the charismatic Francis," how the Spirit speaks through him.

@austeni notes how close Francis is to charismatic renewal. if you compare Francis speeches with predecessors the Holy Spirit is much more present. And JOY.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ @HolmanMK @FordhamTheology @USCCB Part of his diagnosis of Western church is that it is in desolation, needs Joy and the Spirit for consolation and renewal. "The whole Church needs to become charismatic."

One of most remarkable aspects of this papacy says Austen is outreach to Evangelicals and Pentecostals.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ @HolmanMK @FordhamTheology @USCCB Who will be the next pope? It's not just who the pope is choosing but it is the reform of the College of Cardinals itself. Francis has broken the "center dynamic" by appointing cardinals from peripheires and places outside the traditional loci of church power.
@austeni @CRCfordham @JamesMartinSJ @HolmanMK @FordhamTheology @USCCB The effect of this will be fascinating Ivereigh says, because pastoral bishops will be choosing a pastoral Bishop of Rome. Which means the next Pope is impossible to pick!
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