the Great Divider
in the “Post-Modern” Catholic Church?
Faces of Pope Francis
the Pride and Arrogance of Francis dare even defy God Himself?
Much depends upon which side of a Radically Liberal
Agenda you Stand
is a man of inversions. If you stand on the
right side of him you are well-treated and heard; if you stand on the
wrong side of him (as, say, Cardinal Burke) you are dispatched to the
Ultima Thule. But the “right” side of Francis is on the Left; and
the wrong side of Francis is on the Right. For all his putative
benignity, Francis can be ruthless. It is a side of Francis that receives
little attention from the media. He autocratically tolerates no disagreement
and is quick to punish or exile. He is not “the man-made-by-the-media”.
In an irreconcilable juxtaposition he is ostentatiously humble, trumpeting
the humility he tries to equate with himself while failing to exercise
that “humility and gentleness” among his own courtiers. That “an atmosphere
of fear” pervades the halls of the Vatican is no surprise.
for, and antagonism toward, traditional Catholics and the those who
adhere to the Tridentine Mass is well known. But there is no such disdain
for openly dissident Catholics such as Kasper and Danneels, both cardinals,
who enjoy his favor and to whom he is keen to listen. Indeed, they are
part of the inner circle of his closest advisors.
Unlike his immediate
predecessor, Francis is openly antagonistic and condescending toward
those who do not align themselves with his unquestionably revolutionary
— many would say destructive — liberal agenda that would not only “decentralize”
the 2000 year old teaching authority of Rome, but effectively
abdicate the papacy itself , leaving all matters ecclesiological
in the hands of broadly dispersed Synods (a 1965 creation of Vatican
II), Episcopal Conferences (another creation of Vatican II in 1966),
local Ordinaries (bishops), and even in parishes themselves, free to
articulate the Faith as a “praxis” unique to each local parish’s “creative”
expression of the Faith — which may differ entirely from a neighboring
parish’s creative impulse and expression of the Faith. The two needn’t
be uniform in either teaching or “praxis”. If there is contradiction
in the teaching of each — and, eo ipso no unity among
them — then that is the most genuine expression of the Church for those
particular parishioners, priests, and Parish Council (yet another 1965
creation emerging from Vatican II that deprived the pastor of his authority
in the parish. While it is ostensibly an “advisory” group — often comprised
of disaffected Catholics — it often works to undermine the unique pastoral
responsibility of the priest. Here you find the feminists, the liberal
Catholics, the “progressives”, the people who really run the Church).
That contradiction exists and flies in the face of reason and logic
(specifically the Principle of Non-Contradiction) is beside the point.
After all, according to Francis, we must be open to “God surprising
us put it bluntly: Francis is not a particularly bright man.
This is not to say that being intelligent, coherent, and articulate
is indispensable to being holy — but it certainly helps in every other
aspect, especially as it pertains to the Vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth.
Francis is saying concerning extremely important issues should not be
an exercise in verbal Sudoku, an effort to make sense of what
he is attempting to say — presuming that he himself “knows” rather
than solipsistically intuits what he is saying, leaving the rest of
us to guess.
He is a man of tremendous
ambiguity despite his vaunted simplicity. There is a distinct lack of
clarity often couched in awkward phrases — often neologisms — doubtlessly
written for him by others, and the tone, the phraseology,
is one often encountered in the lexicon of distinctly liberal circles
and among “New Age” thinkers. What are we to make of such statements
“If we, each doing our own part, if we do good to others,
if we meet there, doing good, and we go slowly, gently,
little by little, we will make that culture of encounter: We
need that so much. We must meet one another doing good.
'But I don't believe, Father, I am an atheist!' But
do good: We will meet one another there.”
Q: Where is “there”? And how is
it different from “here” if one is talking with an atheist? Will the
atheist no longer be an atheist in that nebulous “there”? Will the Pope
no longer be a Catholic when he reaches “there”? If “there” is “in the
doing of good”, what is the outcome he suggests will result? That we
will find that “we are both doing good and that is good — and it really
does not matter if we believe in Christ or not … as long as we are doing
good? As long as we are being nice to each other we both
will find that Christ is really beside the point and quite unnecessary.
We can trade places and our ultimate destiny will be unaffected … as
long as we “meet each other there”. In Whom we believe or do not believe
is really unimportant (despite what that Person in Whom we believe
or do not believe has said concerning belief in Him in
very clear and unequivocal terms.)
On the other hand,
however insipid and incoherent the statement, it is the logical and
inevitable result of an emerging policy in Francis’s papacy
that discourages, even forbids, any attempt by a Catholic to convert
another to Christ (and through Christ to come to salvation,
and ultimately to Heaven (the best possible will we can have
toward another: their ultimate, ontological and eternal good — for which
we were created in the first place — at least according to authentic
He is also an accomplished
showman. His repudiation of the emblems of his office, his refusal to
live where his predecessors lived, to deliberately be chauffeured in
sub-compacts, to make his own meals — ostensibly to reveal his simplicity
— appears not so much an example to the faithful for their
own edification — as it does a reproach to his predecessors
who chose to accept the historical tradition accorded their ecclesiastical
office. A cynic may say that it is a carefully and publicly orchestrated
slap in the face to his predecessors — which hardly accords with humility.
In fact, the press, the media, are invited to witness and to broadly
publicize this exaggerated “humility”. There is something troubling
in this ostentation of “humility” which immediately invokes Jesus’
parable in Matthew 6.5:
“Do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the
synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell
you, they have received their reward in full.”
If that is not confusing
enough, let us look at another bewildering statement by Francis, invoking
one of his “blessed” predecessors:
“Blessed Paul VI
expressed this eloquently: “We can imagine, then, that each
of our sins, our attempts to turn our back on God,
kindles in him a more intense flame of love, a desire
to bring us back to himself and to his saving plan …”
In light of what precisely
that “plan” is, and “Who” is putatively involved as quite necessary
to it, Francis is not clear, given his rapprochement with the straw
atheist). This is a decidedly queer notion with no clear Scriptural
or theological credentials, for we had been taught (note the past tense)
that sin is an offense to God, an evil so great that it
required the very Son of God to die in expiation for it. Following this
logic, then, if I wish to be more loved by God then I should
sin more often … and the graver the sin, the more intense God’s
But that ability to
confuse, to render indistinct, is precisely the sine qua non
of the agenda those who boasted of putting him in office (Cardinal Danneels
of the infamous “Vatican Mafia” who openly declared that Francis was
“their man”, that is to say, the candidate favored by the notorious
“St. Gallen Club” who regularly met for years to undermine Pope Benedict’s
election, and ultimately his papacy, in order to replace him with “their
man”. And who was “their man”? Bergoglio! Surprise!
And now, as Francis, the devolution of
the Church has been inaugurated. He is merely “the Bishop of Rome” as
he fondly refers to himself, and concomitantly diminishes and undermines
the universal authority of the papacy itself). This is to say
cover up of the pedophile
of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, despite the insistence of the bishop’s
own nephew who was sexually victimized by him for 14 years and demanded
that Danneels bring it to the attention of the pope — which he refused
same Cardinal Danneels
also vigorously attempted to convince King Baudouin of Belgium
to legislate an abortion bill despite the king’s moral
reluctance as a matter of conscience (The king stepped down for
36 hours rather than associate his name with the bill that was subsequently
His approval of
and his lobbying for same-sex “unions” which he considered, in his
own words, and as a Catholic Cardinal, “a positive development”.
same Cardinal Danneels
was the number two appointee
to the Synod on the Family! (of all things) — despite
being disgraced … and did we mention that he is retired?
Why was he given this position of such prominence? It is simple:
Quid pro quo: something for something. In other words, Francis’s
personal invitation and appointment of Danneels was
a blatant “thank you!” for Danneels part in having engineered his
ascent to the Throne of Peter (the Holy Ghost, of course, is parenthetical
to all this). Did we mention that the extremely liberal Cardinal
Walter Kasper of Germany — also a member of the same
“St. Gallen Club” — was number one on the list?
Quid pro quo x 2.
Let us put this into
clearer perspective that, unfortunately, requires less imagination.
Let us assume that a presidential nominee is elected to office. It is
later found that a powerful coterie of conspirators had done everything
legal and illegal to place him in office to further their own interests
(which may in fact coincide with the president’s). One of the conspirators
is found to be deeply involved in criminal activity of the most loathsome
sort and the media, seizing upon it, expose him to public outrage. However,
the statute of limitations required by law expires before he can be
convicted. He then goes on to publicly boast of how instrumental he
was in getting the current president elected, and had, in fact, engineered
it. Soon after the president assumes office, he assembles a group of
advisors. The number one appointee is someone openly disaffected with
the Constitution of the United States and makes every effort to undermine
it. We are astounded. But that was just the jab. The real blow comes
when the number two appointee is the very man who had engaged in unscrupulous
and criminal activity — and who had publicly boasted to the news outlets
that he was the kingpin in getting the president elected. He is not
simply a personal, but a public disgrace!
Would a politician really make so blatant, so egregious, so open a payback
as to place this man in his inner circle of advisors — and as the second
in the position of influencing the president? Would not the president,
rather, distance himself from that figure at all costs as a liability
to his own credibility? Of course he would! Obama even distanced himself
from his “friend” and “pastor” the “reverend” Jeremiah Wright after
preaching “God damn America” … three times in one homily … among many
other incendiary remarks? It was political poison to the president.
But it is not a theological and moral outrage that Francis appoints
Danneels and Kasper to his own inner circle? It is not just theology
and morality — it is stupidity … or worse yet, utter arrogance: “If
I can get away with this, I can get away with anything.” And he has.
And, to the detriment of the Church, likely will continue to.
Very Proud of His Humility ... an Oxymoron
Of course this assessment
goes against the prevailing narrative of a man “renowned for his humility”
in the secular press. Indeed, he completely agrees with and personally
endorses this narrative. In discussing the dismal results of Vatican
II we find the following:
the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that brought the church
into the modern world, had promised such an opening to people of other
faiths and non-believers, but that the church hadn't made progress since
the humility and ambition to do so,” he said.”
What does this say of his predecessors?
That all of them lacked the requisite personal attributes
(humility and ambition) to fulfill the revolutionary vision of Vatican
II— while Francis unflinchingly asserts that he
possesses what they lacked — and flatly tells us so. Because
he possesses the … unique … combination of (self-acclaimed)
humility and ambition lacking in his predecessors, he
can achieve what they failed to. Even the most casual
Catholic recognizes an inherent conflict in this perplexing and troubling
statement. Self-ascribed humility strikes us the
wrong way — think of Christ’s parable of the Pharisee and the Publican
praying before God), especially when it is coupled with ambition.
Are self-acclaimed humility and ambition really exemplary
or even complementary virtues in any remotely Catholic discourse?
Why do we even bring
this up? Is it character-assassination? Malice? No. It is
simply relevant. Let us be clear. We wish Pope Francis every good and
no evil. This is the correct understanding of loving anyone. We love
Pope Francis as Christ commands us to love everyone.
Is this assessment
lacking in charity? I think not. Saint Paul rebuked Saint Peter himself
saw that they walked not uprightly unto the truth of the Gospel”
but that Peter, "fearing
them who were of the circumcision" had acquiesced to what may
be considered the first attempt at "ecumenism" (Gal 2.11-14). Did Saint
Paul not love Saint Peter? And because he loved him — and
because he loved Christ more — he reproached him.
Rarely, in the history
of the Church, has a Catholic had to choose with whom to side: Christ
or the pope? To side with the pope was to side with Christ! This
is no longer so clear, and it is puzzling to many faithful Catholics
when Francis advocates that which Christ opposes, or opposes that which
Christ mandates. How is a Catholic to accept two contrary counsels ...