More Francis Effect™ Analysis: “try crossing a rainbow-stole wearing priest in crappy sandals talking about love”

The other day I posted about an entry at The Sensible Bond.  He is watching Francis and listening to rhetoric and considering their effects, especially in light of TBI™.  We are all seeing what I call The Francis Effect™.

He is at it again.  Here is the end of his latest entry.

Meanwhile, the Franciscan tsunami is washing over us. Whatever else might survive, I have a sense that what Paul Virilio calls the synchronization of collective emotion is going to consign people like me – and other lingering doubters, however modestly they express themselves – to the outer darkness. And if you don’t believe me, perhaps you have never tried crossing a rainbow-stole wearing priest in crappy sandals talking about love. The chances are that such creatures are coming back … and they’ll be able to cite a liberal code-talking pope to support them (except when he is teaching full-fat doctrine).

Oh yes, after a conservative ultramontane, hell hath no fury like a selectively ultramontane liberal.


I respond saying: BE THE MAQUIS!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Fr_Sotelo says:

    I have a feeling that Fr. Z’s outstanding work on this blog is going to get harder, and harder, and harder and harder and harder……

    The Francis Effect is unleashing such dread, fear, and angst in all parts of the traditional world, that people will either become saints from the heroic exercise of virtue during this pontificate (especially trust in the Divine Providence) or they will ask their psychiatrists to drug them into a stupor until the next conclave.

  2. Bosco says:

    I agree Fr_Sotelo,

    As the War Chief Crazy Horse said:

    “Today is a good day to die!” (After going to confession, of course.)

    Whatever comes it is worth humbly considering that Almighty God placed us each, out of all of the time in salvation history when we might otherwise have been born, to do battle at this moment.

    ¡Viva el Cristo Rey! St. Michael defend us!

  3. Bosco says:

    Almighty Father grant us the gift of discernment!

  4. CharlesG says:

    While I too am a little unnerved by some of the expressions and positions of the Pope, I think the Sensible Bond is a tad uncharitable toward those orthodox believers who are stressing that the Pope hasn’t condemned or contradicted the teachings of the Church and is at least on the face of what was said fully orthodox. After all, he is the Pope, don’t we have an obligation to interpret what he says in the most favorable, i.e., orthodox light? Some seem to grab gleefully at anything to insinuate the Pope is a modernist, but unless we have more hard evidence than mere ambiguous rhetorical “code words,” I think we should be careful making those sorts of accusations. Personally, I don’t believe that the Pope rejects the moral teachings of the Church, and I think he really believes that we need to stress mercy more and teach doctrine “in context” down the road. I do feel, however, that he is a bit naive to think that these should be downplayed, and the dissenters will milk and indeed have milked the ambiguity for all it’s worth.

    While I am not ready to give up on the Pope just yet, I am however still a bit downcast about the situation, as to me the liturgy and the moral teachings are a very important part of the broader life in Christ of the Church, and I really don’t agree with the Pope’s seeming view that they should be downplayed, particularly in the current cultural environment. In the past, even if bishops and priests ignored the teaching, one could always count on the Holy See, the rock of Peter, to stand up for doctrine. Now the Holy See will perhaps remain silent, so who will stand up for orthodox doctrine? How will people learn the teaching of the Church? The Pope says he thinks the bishops should handle doctrinal problems locally. If bishops could be trusted to teach and defend the faith, that would be OK, but given the past 50 years, will they really do that? And does the quote about censorship mean that even when they’re handled locally, the bishops shouldn’t ever use the medicine of discipline?

    On the liturgy, we’ll see whether the rumors pan out and the other Marini is appointed, which would be a bummer. I hate to see the reversal of the trend back to greater reverence and better liturgical music and ars celebrandi that we had under Pope Benedict. I’m specifically worried about liturgical translations and whether Liturgiam Authenticam will be reversed. The translation revisions are not yet accomplished in most languages. Also, if things take up from where Bugnini left off, will we continue to see the trend of proliferating eucharistic prayers and license to and by bishops’ conferences to introduce all sorts of liturgical novelties? And all this just as things were settling down to relative liturgical peace. I’m just hoping that Pope John Paul II and Benedict may have laid a good foundation so that even if the pendulum swings back to the 1970’s, it won’t be able to go back permanently to those dark days and that something will survive of the “New Liturgical Movement” in the trenches as hope for the future.

  5. Boniface says:

    I think some here are getting a bit carried away. The media wants to alienate faithful Catholics from the papacy as much as they want to encourage dissenters… are you falling victim?

  6. Phil_NL says:

    On the one hand, the rainbow-stole type will be around simply because there will always be a number of those around. They might get a bit more vocal while they’re in season, but they weren’t away when out of season, and will never be so.

    On the other hand, the flood of those kind of priests will not re-emerge. Many of the priests belonging to that crowd were attracted to the church for reasons that simply no longer pertain: no more is the Church a nice, cosy place were a slightly (or fully) homosexual man can get a respected position without much fuss, or can work for his lefty pet projects while being paid for something else.
    Whatever the circumstances – and they change substantially depending on the continent you’re talking about – it’s clear that a priest will have to endure much for his faith. There’s going to be massive opposition from society no matter what. The pontificates of St. JPII and BXVI lasted long enough to raise a new breed of bishops to their cathedras. Tolerance for deviations of a sexual nature is a lot lower, and much higher outside the church than it was a decade (or two) ago. The church is simply not an attractive path for many men of the kind that produced most rainbow-stole priests. Yes, they (some) are still there, and there will be some more. But there won’t be a flood.

  7. SpittleFleckedNutty says:

    @CharlesG says: Some seem to grab gleefully at anything to insinuate the Pope is a modernist

    “Grab gleefully at anything”? Hardly. More accurate descriptions might be “painfully realize”, “sadly point out”, or “regretfully admit” that the Pope has modernist *leanings*. I’m not ready to label him yet until he officially changes something. But this is not a media-generated portrait of Francis. He is the real-deal liberal, left-wing, spirit-of-Vatican II-guy I thought the Holy Spirit would protect us from.

    A close friend I am sponsoring in RCIA – that I spent many careful months catechizing – might not continue her conversion. My neighbor down the block who I’ve been working on for 3 years to return to the faith (and who was actually attending mass sporadically) is now needling me weekly about my “liberal pope”. It may take years or a new pontificate to reel him back in. These are serious people seeking God, not some folks miffed about being told that their sin is – *gulp* – sin and that they have to die to the old man to put on Christ. Yes we want everyone in the barque. But I think some of these people the Pope is trying to net would only come aboard if they’re allowed drill to holes in her hull.

    Another thing: many people I know have kept their powder dry for 6 months of Pope Francis, as I have. I hadn’t typed one word in one combox till a week ago. I’d be willing to bet that a good many also never hit “Post” on 90% of the things they’ve gotten off their chest in the interest of being prudent. Some just can’t bring themselves to criticize the Pope. It hurts to say these things. It hurts worse that they may be true.

  8. Heather F says:


    What exactly is it that shows Francis’ “true colours” as a liberal left wing whatsit? So far what I’ve seen is him proclaiming the kingdom to the world and saying “we are more than Thou Shalt Not” while at the same time very publically showing by his actions that this does not mean “anything goes” — excommunicating that loopy now-ex-priest, reaffirming the dignity of the unborn, reaffirming the impossibility of female ordination, etc. etc.

    Regarding your friends, as painful as it may to say, if their faith truly rises or falls on what the New York Times says about the Pope, maybe they are not yet ready to enter/come back.

  9. Traductora says:

    SFN, Exactly what is your friend hearing in RCIA – or from you – that might make her discontinue “her conversion?” Is she converting because she loves the Lord and realizes that the Catholic Church is the true Church – or because she thinks it’s all about following the Pope and she doesn’t like this one?

    I think JPII was somewhat the originator of the theory of the Pope as focus of the Church because he was media -savvy and was a figure that the press loved. But when you look at his long reign and the errors that thrived during it, you can see that while he was no doubt orthodox, he didn’t do much to promote orthodoxy until he became very frail and Ratzinger took over behind the scenes. But the Pope isn’t the focus of our faith, or if he is, he shouldn’t be.

    We have 2000 years of tradition that make up the Church, not 6 months of a papacy, and perhaps the best thing you could do for your friend would be to help her focus on that and discover its riches and ignore the press.

  10. Legisperitus says:

    Has anyone read the interview Rorate posted today?

    That lightning bolt is starting to make sense.

  11. Bosco says:

    Here is an extended interview Pope Francis recently granted to La Repubblica’s Eugenio Scalfari and published today. It’s worth a read for sure.

  12. Bosco says:

    “That lightning bolt is starting to make sense.”

    It seems to me there was also a meteor strike in Russia and an earthquake near Castle Gandolfo, but I could be mistaken and I wouldn’t want to seem unduly superstitious or credulous.

  13. AnnAsher says:

    I am quite certain that Pope Francis’ attitude and rhetoric fed my recent experiences as well. I had occasion on 4 Sundays to attend my local Novus Ordo parish – where I also enrolled the kids in VBS – where I was considering returning out of a desire to be participate in the life of the parish vs. attending TLM on Sunday 1 1/2 hours away. Anyway. The first Sunday I though I heard veiled comments in the homily directed toward myself. Criticisms of people who cling to old ways. On the fourth Sunday it was painfully evident to everyone present that the hateful comments included in the homily were most assuredly aimed at our family who “worry too much about small things like the Liturgy” who “want to go back to the good old days” and we were compared to the chaff the Lord intends to separate as “trash. For my daughter’s and I veil and the pastor knows we have sought the Sacraments at the TLM parish. I did attempt to speak to him and make peace after Sunday II. He walked away from me. So yes, there is a Francis effect, and it aint pretty. Ironically, the entrance hymn “All are Welcome in this Place.”

  14. Bosco says:

    “People get ready, there’s a train comin’
    You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board
    All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin’
    You don’t need no ticket you just thank the lord.” – The Impressions 1965

    Nope. Don’t need no ticket. Just get on board. There’s a long ride a’comin’.

    Pray much for the Holy Father.

  15. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    The phrase”Synchronization of Collective Emotion,” reminds me of the phrase “Undifferentiated Ego Mass.”

    I’m sure the one arises from the other.

  16. inexcels says:

    OK. Before, I thought the panicky diatribes about Pope Francis were premature, but if that Scalfari interview is legit, then I am on board with being concerned. That is not the language one should hear coming from the mouth of a pope. That is a problem.

  17. SpittleFleckedNutty says:

    @Heather F says: What exactly is it that shows Francis’ “true colours” as a liberal left wing whatsit?

    Heather, if you’ve read the raw interviews and haven’t picked up on Francis’ leftism, I can’t help you there. But bringing the hammer down on a disobedient priest and being a leftist are not mutually exclusive. That’s kind of the gist of this post by Father Z: cross the rainbow stole at your own peril.

    @Traductora says: Exactly what is your friend hearing in RCIA – or from you – that might make her discontinue “her conversion?”

    The RCIA class is ok. A little heavy on the Scott Hahn for my taste, but solid enough. What she is hearing from me:

    1. Aristotelian Philosophy – just a few concepts to establish the notion of reality.
    2. Aquinas – we have read selections of the Summa together and broken them down. She was blown away by the Angelic doctor’s explanation of the Trinity. She had never heard anything like it before and it engaged her intellect.
    3. Church History – selections from Warren Carroll’s Christendom series.
    4. “This is the Faith” by Canon Francis Ripley.
    5. The Catechism – we are working through it daily.
    6. Bible Study – especially the archetypes in the OT and how the NT revelation flows from it.
    7. St. John of the Cross – selections to get a sense of the mystical dimensions of the faith. We have been reading him along with the “Song of Songs”, and this touches her deeply – something her evangelicalism never explained.
    8. “Saint Among Savages” – A biography of St. Isaac Jogues to demonstrate the Catholic missionary mind.
    9. “The Book of Mary” by Henri Daniel-Rops
    10. She’s learned the rosary is trying to make it a daily devotion, but is not quite there yet.
    11. Weekly mass attendance.

    This girl’s mother is a staunch Evangelical and very much agaisnst the Church. What she is hearing that might make her pause are lines like this:

    “.. the issue for those who do not believe in God is in obeying their own conscience.”

    and, just this morning,

    “I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God”

    Every time her mother shows her lines like this, I have to step in and talk them both off the ledge. The Pope is not my ally in converting this girl or – eventually – her mother.

  18. MarkG says:

    I simply cannot stand the “hippy” style vestments, like tie dye, rainbow, star wars, etc. Especially when they wear them wrong like the stole on top of the chausable and not crossed but hanging loose. Then again, I don’t like normal gothic vestments either especially the newer ones designed to be a tent.
    I prefer the roman style vestments (fiddle back) as they look the most dignified.

  19. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Well, Francis is right. There is no such thing as a “Catholic God” and a “Presbyterian God” and a “Pentecostal God.” We follow God, Who gave His revelation of Himself most fully to the Catholic Church which He established. He didn’t give a different revelation of Himself to each of the different denominations; they may believe less of what He revealed, but that’s their choice. There’s only One God in Three Persons, the only God in all of existence and the only God for all beings everywhere.

    And yes, in Europe _and_ in America, “proselytize” during the last century or so has usually meant unethical techniques of “conversion,” like the people who invite you to a party that turns out to be all evangelicals trying to make the one Catholic target convert.

  20. ncstevem says:

    Ann – my guess is that priest wouldn’t like it if you and your daughter received Holy Communion kneeling. So I say do it even if there’s no kneelers and ignore his snide comments.

  21. Mike Morrow says:

    I suspect that Annibale il Cannibale Bugnini could only have dreamed of the opportunities for working his agenda against the Church in the present day. He was born fifty years too early.

  22. Kathleen10 says:

    I keep thinking of what if. What if there were no Fr. Z. blog to go to, where we can gain some wisdom and present our concerns. Thank you Fr. Z. This would all be exponentially worse, at least to me. I’m sure to others as well. Thank God for Fr. Z.!
    Why things are the way they are I certainly don’t know. As I get older I see how little I know. What I do know for sure is only this. God is in control of His church, and while things may seem horrible, may even be horrible, God will make it come out alright, though it may look like a mess to you and me. Who said “God writes straight with crooked lines”?
    I think of Our Lady of Fatima as well.
    Are these times unusual? With my limited knowledge I daresay they seem to be! I am aghast at the rejoicing in evil I see in our once beautiful United States. Our decline is breathtakingly rapid. Blessed by God, we were once a ‘good’ nation. Now we export evil, and we see it in our daily lives. Too many of us celebrate it, call it good. The world is not much better. The Middle East is another factor. Jerusalem is threatened in a very distinct way now.
    Don’t all these factors seem to add up to something? What did Revelations say about what to expect? Something seems singularly unique about these times. I’m old enough to remember a different world, and while I hate to rely on emotion, which tricks us, there is a decidedly different “feel” about these times, and objectively, things are different.

  23. Lin says:

    Well said Fr_Sotelo! Our pastor is a rainbow-stole type who is dancing in the street. He had nothing good to say about JPII or Benedict XVI before he retired. The Francis effect has him adding “liturgical novelties” at whim! Very Protestant in his approach! This past Sunday our sermon was entirely on the Global Poverty Project and social justice. Love is all we need! My take away from the readings last week focused on Amos. “Woe to the complacent in Zion”. They drink wine from bowls and anoint themselves with the best oils; yet they are not made I’ll by the collapse of Joseph! Immorality is rampant, freedom of religion is threatened, the culture of death is closing in with Obamacare, while the elitists party! Perhaps it is a blessing to be living in these times! Pray for perseverance and/or another conclave. For sure, pray for GOD fearing government officials!

  24. Kathleen10 says:

    My poorly articulated point was, is Pope Francis the most recent of events that are bringing us to something…I don’t know what the something is, but, it seems like something of significance.

  25. BLB Oregon says:

    Thank goodness that Archbishop Sample will be here to explain our Holy Father Francis to priests like that. I have no doubt that he will! (Pray for them! The Archdiocese of Portland has convocation for her priests next week, Oct. 7-Oct. 10!)

    I think many of us are old enough to remember the projections being put onto the then-new “outsider”, Pope John Paul II. Did any of the progressives see him coming as he really was? I don’t think so. It is built into the nature of the progressive mindset to always think the next guy is going to be better, but then to be surprised when “better” doesn’t mean that he agrees with them. I even remember (and remember almost falling over when I heard it) when a progressive family member opined that Pope Benedict XVI was going to “open things up” once he’d been put in charge and wasn’t bound to loyally do what Pope John Paul II directed him to do. Imagination springs eternal in some minds.

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