In fact, there are any number of entries I have posted over the last few weeks that demonstrate what I am trying to do.
I am purposely, obviously, openly, repeatedly trying to rein in the hyper-trads – to get them to breath into paper bags – and also to remind liberals that tradition-scorning victory laps are waaaaay premature.
But my adversaries – liberals and conservatives – are trying to paint me as a Francis-bashing rad-trad, and therefore to take me down.
I want you readers to know that this is going on – not because I am concerned about myself – but because the position that I have taken over the past few weeks is highly nuanced and, therefore, should not be misrepresented, wittingly or unwittingly, as that of an extremist.
I have been consistent. For example….
19 March: Dear Traditionalists…
28 March: What Pope Francis is really saying.
Note also what I wrote on 2 April (full post there).
[A]s I have been saying all along, Pope Francis needs some time to learn how to be Pope. We also have to learn to have him be our Pope.
He has done things that I think are both strange and ill-considered. On the other hand, he minces no words about the warfare we are in with the Devil, to whom he refers clearly and boldly. He spoke about the need for priests to hear confessions, though that was in private. I’ll bet he speaks about it publicly too, before long. In his homilies he has entirely eschewed a modern biblical exegetical style in favor of a more Patristic, allegorical style… even as Ratzinger famously used. His use of the image of the garb of the Old Testament priesthood and the chasuble priests put on for Mass was like something Pope Benedict would have offered us, and he wrote it before he was elected: it was his own work and not that of some flunky in the Secretariate of State. There are a lot of things Francis is showing which traditional Catholics can sincerely applaud (if they can get over themselves long enough to see them).
Even though Francis has painted himself into a corner through his abrupt dramatic changes, he is more than likely going to adjust to the exigencies of his office, which include decorum at a different level and an awareness that he is more than the bishop of a diocese somewhere.
Time, friends. Patience. And pray for him. He must be wondering if he is going to wake up from some sort of long, strange dream.
Here is my point.
We must not pit Francis against Benedict right now. We find the continuity between them.
Read Francis through Benedict.
Does this sound like I am trying to trash Pope Francis?
I think not.
“But Father! But Father!”, some will rush in to shout, “you criticized him in places too!”
When I have been critical of some change the Pope has made, I have urged caution when interpreting him, and have advocated patience while we watch him clarify what his pontificate stands for. I have stressed the need not to lose the forest for the trees.
And I have been strongly critical of myself and traditionalists for sometimes doing just that.
For example, back on 28 March:
Some liberals live and breathe liberal liturgy. On the other end of the spectrum, such as the undersigned, traditional Catholics think that liturgy is critical but for different reasons (“Save The Liturgy, Save The World”, comes to mind). Francis isn’t invested in either of these camps.
For Francis, I think, it is more a matter of “a pox on both your houses”.
Francis is pushing out to the world (ad extra) an image of compassion. I think he is correcting both sides, within the Church (ad intra), which may both be, both sides, losing the forest for the trees….
This is the position I have said is highly nuanced and that should not be misrepresented as that of an extremist.