Empathy is not charity.
“You are now going to perform the most painful act of love that has ever been performed,” and “Certainly Christ would have apostatized for them,” he is speaking not the language of seventeenth-century Jesuits, but the language of Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton, twentieth-century Death of God theologians who believed that not only Christ but Christianity must die, that it is not finally Christian to be Christian, and that in the name of Christian charity, Christians must reject Christian truths.
Sounds like the makings of another Pope Francis Synod.
Meanwhile, in a world in which even our present pontiff has compared Christian evangelization to jihad, another kind of proselytism continues unabated, one that has no anxiety at all about influencing others. This is the kind of proselytism brought to bear on Rodrigues: the insidious, relentless pressure on the Christian to deny Christ.
This explanation of this new pontifical phenomenon as creating ourselves as a faux Christ is brilliant:
As promised, there are many Antichrists abroad in our day, of which Endō’s fictional deus ex fumie is just one small, particularly brazen example. In an age of empathy, the more pedestrian temptation is to become faux Christs ourselves, false messiahs who promise more than we can deliver.
Thinking along these lines, we can understand, finally, why empathy is preoccupied with the sufferings of other people, rather than with their joys. In the spiritual economy of modernity, the place that remains vacant is the place that belongs by right to Christ alone: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Our culturally sanctioned practice of empathy is an attempt to fill Christ’s shoes; it is a reiteration of the sin of Eden in a fresh guise. In place of Christ’s fearless, definitive Passion, we offer others our problematic, uneasy pity, a passion from which no one rises incorrupt.
Wow. Just wow.
The more we learn about James Martin, the more demonic his shtick looks.