Over at the Catholic Herald, the UK’s best Catholic weekly, William Oddie has a piece in which he opines on the HUGE letter of support that Pope Francis send to Archbishop Marchetto.
You will recall that Archbp. Marchetto has been for years a critic of the so-called “Bologna School” of interpreting the Second Vatican Council. In short, when you hear “Bologna School” think both of “discontinuity and rupture” and, well, the obvious sausage association.
Pope Francis, on the other hand, put in writing his support for Archbp. Marchetto and, with it, Marchetto’s opposition to the “Bologna School”. Pope Francis wrote:
“I consider you the best hermeneutical interpreter of the Second Vatican Council.”
I would have added… “after Benedict XVI”, but… okay. Not bad.
… With that declaration, with his open support for this book, and with the decision to make the text of his letter public, Pope Francis is making an explicit declaration of his own ecclesial position, which he clearly expects to be noted by all: viz that he supports Benedict XVI’s vision of the Church, and absolutely rejects the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II”. There can now be no question of writing off this Holy Father as a “liberal Pope”: not unless you are one of the weird eccentrics who attempts to do the same for Benedict XVI himself.
This declaration will not be noticed by the secular media: [Including the Fishwrap… aka National Schismatic Reporter.] and who cares? But it will be noticed by Hans Küng and his crew, and by the Tabletistas. The media will still respond positively to Pope Francis’s pastoral instincts and so should we all. We should also note the enthusiasm of many semi-lapsed Catholics: according to the Daily Mail, “After years of decline, cathedrals in Britain have seen a 20 per cent rise in congregations since the Argentinian Pope was elected as head of the Catholic Church eight months ago. And the ‘Pope Francis Effect’ is being felt across the world, with new and lapsed Catholics surging back to the confession box ‘by the hundreds or thousands’, according to the Italian Centre for Studies of New Religions. In Italy half of priests have noted a marked rise in support for the Church”. And so on. Even the sourest Francis-sceptic can hardly claim that all that is actually a bad thing: the worst they can say is that maybe it won’t last. But maybe some of it will. That growth in recourse to the confessional is particularly interesting: that looks serious, and potentially durable.
I ended my last post by saying that I was confident that “as the pontificate unfolds, [anxieties about Pope Francis] will become progressively calmer and then fade away. I think the Holy Father will pull it off.” My confidence in that outcome has just been given a major boost, by the Pope’s unambiguous endorsement of Archbishop Marchetto. This pontificate has just passed an important milestone.
I will part company on the last paragraph.
As the pontificate continues, anxieties about Francis with subside for some. For others, they will grow. For liberals, they will grow. Eventually libs will turn on Francis. Imagine their anxiety growing as they come to the breaking point and start to attack him. The more the gush over everything he does now, they harder it will be for them to reverse their direction. Heh.
In any event, Oddie sounds like he subscribes to:
READING FRANCIS THROUGH BENEDICT.