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Sunday, 25 May 2014

Catholic Cult of Personality and Narcissistic Awe

In psychology, there is a part of the underdeveloped person who falls into the category of being narcissistic labelled "narcissistic awe".  Narcissistic awe may be described as the judgment of the narcissist who sees the parent or adult as either completely good and wonderful or completely bad. The person is incapable of seeing someone as a good person with faults and flaws.

This type of view is found among those with a narcissitic personality disorder. That person cannot see adults in authority as anything but in black and white terms.

A healthy child grows up realizing that his parents are good people but imperfect. He will not either demonize nor idolize the adult.

Now, I have been watching many people in the traditional camp of Catholicism turn against this present pope. They have demonized him to the point of denying any good in this man. Some of their judgment is based on faulty media reports, but some is based on the problem of  "narcissistic awe".

Those who blame this pope for the evils of other priests and for the evils of the Church are exhibiting the downside of the "cult of personality", which, imo, grows out of  "narcissistic awe." In other words, these people adore one pope unrealistically and hate another one unrealistically.

Popes, and, indeed, the Church of the past are idealized, into persons and institution which never really existed. I have written on the false romanticizing of the past concerning the Church before, but now I am writing about the root cause-narcissistic awe.

Very often, people who seem religious fall into this cult of personality growing out the inability to look at the adults in their lives realistically. One young person I know was abused as a child, but instead of demonizing the parent, she has fallen into deceitful idolization of that parent.

This may seem both impossible and amazing, but her own narcissism will not allow her to see the emotional truth of the situation.

So, too, with the pope blasters, who cannot see him as an imperfect man, chosen by the College of Cardinals, to be the pope. That he deserves the respect of office seems obvious.

Because of the decay of the healthy family, there seems to be more narcissists about than in the past. And, many of those in the Church are into papal blasting on a daily basis.

Time to look at narcissistic awe as the root of this cult of personality gone wild and on the negative side at this time in history.

to be continued....and see these posts


E Lewis said...

Speaking only for myself, I disagree with your assessment. A quick look at the Pope's actions during his Holy Land visit show the man has no sense of the true situation in the Middle East. He hugged a known terrorist and called him a man of peace. Read what the Jerusalem Post had to say about the Pope's actions.
On the way back he happily announced that he's going to celebrate a Mass with abuse victims on June 6 or 7th. The Mass hasn't even been scheduled yet! Pope Benedict held 5 or 6 similar events without ever announcing them in protect the anonymity of the participants. A fellow Jesuit in Argentina said on record that while head of the order Card. Bergoglio screwed things up so badly it will take 20 years to fix the damage he caused. You say he was elected by the Cardinals as if that proves his fitness for the office. Most of them are unfit for their office as well.
Pope benedict was once asked about the Holy Spirit's impact on a conclave. In essence, "He said, the Holy Spirit can inspire, but He never directs. The participants are always free to make a mess of things. Francis is the papal equivalent of Obama.

Supertradmum said...

E. Lewis, Because a man is not the perfect pope does not mean we react as if his every action is the be all and end all of Church teaching.

My point is not how the Pope acts or speaks, but how immature people react to him

To compare a good man with Obama the most anti-life pres, and one who is most likely Marxist, is slander, and just proves my point, not yours.

Until people get over the cult of personality, they will continue to expect this pope to be Jesus Himself, which he is not. He is Christ's Representative on earth and deserves our respect as such, but many, many popes have been flawed and the Church still stands today.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with everything this pope says or does but there are many things he has said that I agree with.

In overall I like your article because many in the Traditionalist camp do cross the line into fanaticism...yes fanaticism.

And also agree with what you said in one of your other articles: "many people have a romanticized view of the pre-Vatican II Church."

Venye said...

As someone who grew up in an abusive household, I find that twist in this this post extremely offensive.

Yes, we are seeing the destruction of neo-neo-ultramonatism and the cult of the Popes, but this is not a new struggle in the Church. It predates the breakdown in the family, by a few hundred years (at least!)

We fell into this distorted view of the Church not out of narcissism, but out of ordinary human attachment to popes who championed ideas that we agree with, or who were present to us in a way that other heroes couldn't.

Netmilsmom said...

I have to agree, but this goes both ways. Pope Worshipers who dismiss every concern also fall into this category.
The Church will always stand, guaranteed by Christ Himself, but The Church could be The Pope and a couple followers. The Vatican could be a shell. Let's not be unrealistic about this as we stand loyal to the Holy Father. We don't want to continue to bleed away Catholics in the hopes that the entire world will be converted. Nor turn The Church into nothing but a social service.

Supertradmum said...

Netmilsmom. THAT is the point--the same one who idolize a pope are the same ones who demonize a pope-that is the problem with narcissistic awe-there are two other posts on narcissism in the same series which may help.

Supertradmum said...

Venye, read the other two articles on narcissism-and there were many, many popes who did not exactly champion the cause of the Church, We have been fortunate since Pius IX to have a string of good popes, even saintly ones.

Netmilsmom said...

Thanks! Catching up now.

Perry Smith said...

Narcissistic awe is an interesting, powerful and inaccurate word used to describe Catholics and non-Catholics, who are baffled daily/weekly with Papal comments, occurring since the onset of the new pontificate.

Narcissistic personality; arrogant behavior, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration-all evident at work and in relationships. They are frequently described as cocky, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding. This article isolates the parent/child component of narcism, viewing the patient with a disordered and unfounded expectation of the parental role.

It is juvenile to label Catholics as self-centered who dare to question the authentic inconsistencies of Pope Francis, which fill page after page. I am not a traditional Catholic and for the record, I attend Mass with MANY informed Catholic (neo con's) who are confused and troubled with the constant barrage of questionable papal statements. Cardinal Kasper, and his heretical view of marriage along with the Pope's comments supporting Kasper could fill the entire page.

The Pope is not “just one of the guys” in Rome. He is the head of the Catholic Church, and his laissez faire attitude to marriage, homosexuality, conversion of non Catholics, wealth distribution etc etc etc...... no longer defines historic Church teachings. I have begun to question my conversion to Catholicism, the Church looks and sounds like protestant. If I wanted the teachings of Protestantism or Judaism, I would not have converted to the Rock of Peter. Thank you to all Catholic who challenge and question the direction Francis is leading the Church. On the other side of the fence are the “Catholic radio crowd” who spin the erroneous Papal comments in attempts to make it sound Catholic.

I will continue my prayers for Pope Frances and our Church.

Supertradmum said...

Perry Smith, I include arrogance and lack of empathy in my remarks on the other two companion posts. Only the arrogant can criticize to the pitch we have seen on blogs and in the media.

The Pope is not laissez faire and has not said anything contrary to the Faith from an official stand.

He is only infallible from the Chair of Peter

I do not believe this man will perjure himself or even take the Church into schism. Those who want schism are and have been active for over 50 years.

Perry Smith said...

Every comment which comes from the mouth of the Pope, Cardinals or Bishops, must be consistent with the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church. Every word spoken by the Magisterium is scrutinized by Catholics and the world alike. It is irrelevant to me or many other Catholics, that the Pope is not sitting on the Chair of Peter while making his inappropriate comments, rendering it non binding. The majority of Catholic think every word uttered by the Pope is infallible, on or off his chair. If I had a quarter every time some one mentioned to me homosexuality is now acceptable in the Catholic Church, referring to the Popes comments, I would be rich. I my life time, past Popes would slip up on occasion with the majority of their teaching being sound.

You can hide behind the fact that Francis is not speaking from his chair, while making his incompatible comments, so no harm done. A quick scan through the internet will show how eagerly the world latches on to comments and ideas which appear to be lax on Catholic faith and morals. I expect ever word which comes form Rome to be consistent, in it's entirety, with past teachings. Private thoughts inconsistent with Church teaching should be kept private.

Supertradmum said...

Perry, it is time for Catholics to grow up, which is the point of my posts. No really adult Catholic will look to a pope and take everything he says as Gospel truth.

We are responsible for being intelligent human beings and for our OWN salvation. When I face God in my particular judgement, He is not going to say-"Sure, go into heaven because the Pope this and you misunderstood my Church's infallibility."

I am not off the hook because of the sins of the fathers-another post on this blog, btw.

An adult Catholic who loves the Church and sees beyond the personality will be strong in the faith.

I do not expect every word from anyone less than a saint to be perfect, and ALL popes have not been saints.

The media twists things because it hates the Church. This pope will be saved because of his office, through his suffering and learning how to be an excellent pope.

Those who WANT to misconstrue will. I had many discussions on the homosexuality comment-and all ended up well and good opportunities for evangelizing.

Focus on Christ not the Pope.

Perry Smith said...

Unfortunately, believe it or not, there exists a large majority of Catholic who hang on to every word spoken from the Magisterium. A determent to the church has been several generations of poor catechesis leaving many Catholics clueless about very basic tenets of the faith. So when the shepherd of the Church speaks, formally or informally his words and actions hold much power to sway the thought process of Catholics.

Obviously your knowledge of Catholicism surpasses most. You have the ability discern the truth, most Catholics do not. Go to an RCIA class and listen to the adults teaching. Observe the teachers responsible for passing the Catholic faith to our children in the Parish Religious Education Classes. Both will quite an eye opener to the lack of Catholic knowledge Joe/Jane Q Catholic has acquired over the years.

I will continue to state that the free spirited comments of Francis have been powerful to sway Catholic ideology. My focus is always on Christ, but Francis words and actions cannot be separated from Christ for he is Christs representative on Earth. Francis is to shepherd the flock from Catholic tradition and not personal sentiment.

Church history teaches that priests are set to a higher standard in faith and morals. The Magisterium is bound to instructs the faithful consistent to tradition. For the esteemed men in the Church hierarchy God's judgement will be harsh, if souls are lost to incorrect teachings. Their every word and action counts when our eternal destiny is at stake.