I bring to your attention a couple hard-hitting pieces not for the purposes of depressing you, but informing you.
I’ve advised elsewhere that if this pontificate, or perhaps “parenthesis”, is getting you down, then stop paying so much attention to the news. That said, some of you who are tough and well-balanced – not likely to fly off the nearest window ledge at the mention of turmoil in the Church – should know what is being said. On the one side there is the rah rah rah from the catholic libs who think that Pope Francis is the 7th Apparition of Vishnu (whom I believe they may prefer to worship rather than the true King of Fearful Majesty) and those who are boo boo boo Pope Francis is bringing on the eruption of Mount Doom.
I am trying to take the longer view. I remind myself that each pontificate is a parenthesis in the long history of the Church and of our Salvation. This parenthesis will close one day and another will open.
You might want to look at a piece by George Neumayr at American Spectator. He is not a fan of Pope Francis. My emphases.
THE POPE’S CARICATURING OF CONSERVATIVES
The lack of charity for which he condemns them was on sad display in his own remarks.
The scandalous synod on the family skidded to a stop last weekend in Rome but not before Pope Francis got in a few more licks at conservatives, whom he caricatured in his final remarks as heartless.
The speech was notable for its nastiness, displaying the very lack of charity he routinely assigns to conservatives. The synod, he said, had exposed “closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families.”
He continued: “It was about trying to open up broader horizons, rising above conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints, so as to defend and spread the freedom of the children of God, and to transmit the beauty of Christian Newness, at times encrusted in a language which is archaic or simply incomprehensible.”
Under the lightweight leftism of Pope Francis, the question “Is the Pope Catholic?” seems less and less rhetorical. Previous popes, reading the remarks above, would conclude that the speaker held to the theology of liberal Protestantism. They would find the false contrasts between divine law and mercy, upon which Francis habitually relies, pitiful in their shallowness, and they would find his constant resort to straw-man fallacies and motive-mongering against traditionalists to be an unsightly blot upon the papacy. With a pope like this one, orthodox Catholics don’t need enemies. [Harsh stuff, but there is one point to make: it is often hard to know to whom the Pope is referring when he talks about all these horrible people in the Church. Who are they? I’ve never encountered such creatures. Are they indigenous to Argentina? Then maybe those comments should be made in Argentina.]
All the tortured throat-clearing from pundits about the “nuances” of Pope Francis is very unconvincing. He is not nuanced at all. He is an open left-wing Catholic, perfectly comfortable with the de facto heretics within his own order and inside his special cabinet of cardinals. Cardinal Walter Kasper, whom Pope Francis has identified as one of his “favorite” theologians, and Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany, who is one of his closest advisers, stand to the left of Martin Luther.
Well, say the pope’s desperate propagandists, Francis may not possess a deep mind but at least he has a big heart. If so, it seems to bleed for everyone but orthodox Catholics, whose fidelity to the faith under secularism’s ceaseless encroachments is treated with contempt.
Like many modern Jesuits, Francis often sounds like he loves every religion except his own. Could anyone imagine him every talking about imams, rabbis, or even a feminist witch, in the same caustic style that he disparages Catholic traditionalists? If he did, he would have an “ecumenical” crisis on his hands.
Early in his pontificate, video footage captured him teasing a blameless altar boy for holding his hands together piously. Were they “stuck” together? the Pope asked the bewildered boy. That is what passes for humor in the liberal Jesuit order. Visit almost any Jesuit college or school and you will soon encounter similar instances of anti-Catholic gibes presented as “reform.”
There’s more there. As I said… he is definitely not a fan.
Then there is a piece from Damian Thompson at The Spectator:
Pope vs church – the anatomy of a Catholic civil war
His scattershot reforms and wild statements make him look out of control to ordinary conservative Catholics
Last Sunday, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica carried an article by Eugenio Scalfari, one of the country’s most celebrated journalists, in which he claimed that Pope Francis had just told him that ‘at the end of faster or slower paths, all the divorced who ask [to receive Holy Communion] will be admitted’.
Catholic opinion was stunned. The Pope had just presided over a three-week synod of bishops at the Vatican that was sharply divided over whether to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the sacrament. In the end, it voted to say nothing much. [Thanks be to God.]
On Monday, the Pope’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said Scalfari’s report was ‘in no way reliable’ and ‘cannot be considered the Pope’s thinking’.
Fair enough, you may think. Scalfari is 91 years old. Also, he doesn’t take notes during his interviews or use a tape recorder. Of course he’s not ‘reliable’. [Why does His Holiness keep going back to Scalfari? Does he want the chaos that always ensues?]
But that didn’t satisfy the media. They pointed out that the Pope knew exactly what he was letting himself in for. This is the fourth time he has chosen to give an interview to a man who relies on his nonagenarian memory. In their last encounter, Scalfari quoted the Pope as saying that two per cent of Catholic priests were paedophiles, including bishops and cardinals. Poor Lombardi had to clean up after that one, too. Last time round, Catholics gave Francis the benefit of the doubt. This time many of them are saying: never mind Scalfari, how can you trust what the Pope says?
We’re two and a half years into this pontificate. But it’s only in the past month that ordinary conservative Catholics, as opposed to hardline traditionalists, have started saying that Pope Francis is out of control.
Out of control, note. Not ‘losing control’, which isn’t such a big deal. [Out of control, like a loose cannon on the deck of a pitching ship: it can pitch down a hatch, through the hull, and then everyone goes down to Davy Jones’ locker.] No pontiff in living memory has awakened the specific fear now spreading around the church: that the magisterium, the teaching authority vested in Peter by Jesus, is not safe in his hands.
The non-Catholic media have yet to grasp the deadly nature of the crisis facing the Argentinian Pope. They can see that his public style is relaxed and adventurous; they conclude from his off-the-cuff remarks that he is liberal (by papal standards) on sensitive issues of sexual morality, and regards hard-hearted conservative bishops as hypocrites.
All of which is true. But journalists — and the Pope’s millions of secular fans — get one thing badly wrong. They assume, from his approachable manner and preference for the modest title ‘Bishop of Rome’, that Jorge Bergoglio wears the office of Supreme Pontiff lightly.
As anyone who works in the Vatican will tell you, this is not the case. Francis exercises power with a self-confidence worthy of St John Paul II, the Polish pope whose holy war against communism ended in the collapse of the Soviet bloc.
But that’s where the similarities end. John Paul never hid the nature of his mission. He was determined to clarify and consolidate the teachings of the church. Francis, by contrast, wants to move towards a more compassionate, less rule-bound church. But he refuses to say how far he is prepared to go. At times he resembles a motorist driving at full speed without a map or a rear-view mirror. And when the car stalls, as it did at the October synod on the family, he does a Basil Fawlty and thrashes the bonnet with a stick.
I am sure that many of you have formed your opinions and that it will be tough to move you from them. I bring these two pieces to your attention to inform, rather than to budge.
I advocate the long-term view. Pontificates are parentheses. Some are short, some are long. Some are important, some are not. God opens them and closes them according to a plan we cannot see.
I’ll turn on comment moderation especially for those of you without a filter.
Meanwhile, examine your consciences and…
GO TO CONFESSION!