Pope Francis may be the
most famous pope both for what he says and does
not say. Speech or silence, both are an indictment against him
— and well they should be.
When he speaks, he sows confusion. When he keeps silent, he sows confusion.
It may be the case that to speak clearly, unambiguously, and to the
point, eludes Francis altogether. But it certainly is the case that
to do so is not useful to him.
As we had stated in another essay,1
the value of nuance lies in its ability to provide one with a claim
to “plausible deniability,” which is to say that it enables one to state
something in such a way that the statement can be as easily retracted
as it had been stated — while requiring neither commitment nor responsibility
from the one employing it. No indisputable commitment is made and no
real or unequivocal responsibility is taken or assumed. It is speech
(or text) as duplicity, as eager to run into the arms of an adoring
public as it is to flee an angry mob.
One can state something in the public square and allow it to gain traction
in public consciousness — but not so unambiguously as to deny having
said it ... at least as it had been construed or understood. It is a
potent poison, equally effective by the hand or on the tongue. And it
is used as such. We see this routinely in courts of law. The prosecutor
will state something that he well knows he is not to permitted to say
or suggest, and allow himself to be censured by the judge — but only
after the horse has left the barn. He has tainted the jury. He has brought
to their awareness what they should not have heard … but more importantly,
should not have and would not have considered as pertinent to the trial
— but once heard, as the prosecutor knew in advance — the jury now cannot
“unhear.” However much the judge may admonish the jury “to disregard”
what the prosecutor had said — well, you know the rest.
Unfortunately, there is no one to admonish Catholics (and the world
at large) “to disregard” what Francis said. Do you really believe that
he does not understand this? This is his way of furtively communicating
to the world what is not aligned with genuine Catholic teaching. It
is, in a word, nuanced — just enough to communicate the clear intent,
but not sufficient to convict him of “formal” heresy.
No Stepping Back
What is more, Francis goes one step further: he does
not bother to retract what he had said — however scandalous and malignant
to the faithful — or even to clarify it; he deliberately leaves it in
the “fog of (mis)understanding,” allowing it to be favorably interpreted
by those to whom it was “really” addressed, and to whom it is a wink
from the pope that the sin most pleasing to them is okay with him —
“he’s on their side.” While Francis's PR team at the Vatican is ever
ready to “explain” what Francis really meant, Francis himself, we must
point out, never steps back from the scandal he provokes. He very
well understood what he said ... and so do we.
Could such a public figure be this brazenly disingenuous? This patently
dishonest? Especially a pope, a figure that, at least in the in the
historic imagination (and often in fact) has been associated with what
is holy, good, and true? He is, after all, supposed to be as Catholic
and holy “as the pope” … because he is the pope.
How have things come to this? How has the papacy itself become so corrupt,
so duplicitous, so mendacious, so … venal?
Is it a recent and sudden affliction? Or was it long in coming? Is it
from a burst abscess that first spilled out its purulence on the Church
10 years ago with the brazenly open machinations by the collusion of
prelates in the self-acclaimed “Sankt Gallen Mafia” to bring Jorge Bergoglio
to the papacy? We still have not come to the responsible realization
after so many, many, years of being told that the Church, following
Vatican II, was healthier and holier than it had ever been — when our
own perception was quite different. We told ourselves that it was only
us, isolated individuals, who had witnessed the abuses, the sacrilege,
and the growing secularization of the Church — surely, we were told
in one way or another, the problem was personal, with us,
and not our perceptions.
A Painful Realization
It is a deeply painful realization that we had been
deceived, routinely lied to by the reigning Church hierarchy for 70
years: all the popes, cardinals, bishops, priests and Religious, beginning
with Angelo Roncalli (John XXIII) and every pope following him — we
were told with ever greater emphasis that “all is well” with the Church
(apart from certain malcontents among whom we were numbered). We simply
had not accepted, or refused to accept, “the winds of inevitable change
that the Holy Spirit was breathing in the Church.” We were inflexible,
unable to accommodate ourselves to the clear “sign of the times”; we
were stubborn, “rigid”, as Bergoglio is fond of calling us, and we were
resisting the Holy Spirit Who was sending us a “New Advent” and Who,
we were scolded, was crying out in so many charismatic “Tongues” that
we were out of step and out of line.
Francis, Bergoglio, Jorge, whatever you choose to call him, is simply
the apex liar in a line of those who lied to us stretching back 70 years,
telling all who are not promoting his heretical “ecumenical” agenda
and his unique path of “Accompaniment” in sin, that they are the problem,
not him. How could he be? He is Francis the “proudly humble” — until
you cross his path or call out his radical agenda for what it is: an
ecumenism that has manifested itself as nothing less than polytheism.
All “gods” are the true god. Christ is an embarrassment; a stumbling
block to ecumenism — and an impediment to pansexual freedom.
A Premature Burial. How it came to this
It really had come to this some 70 years ago when ambitious
churchmen and theologians of the Nouvelle Theologie, together
with disaffected bishops — (the undeniably Modernist and “progressivist”
elements in the Church, then and now) — told itself in the conceit of
its imagination that the Catholic Church needed a Council to
engage a world that was somehow and suddenly more modern that all the
“modern” worlds that preceded and accompanied the Church for millennia
— and in times no less straitening. The Church, the Body of Christ,
however, was not on the Modernist trajectory they had set for themselves,
but clung, rather, to antiquated notions of holiness and the
equally outdated commission for the salvation of souls as her
preeminent responsibility — entrusted to her by no one less
than God Himself. But their ambitious plans and God's plans did
not coincide: there was no room for social activism, a neo-sexualized
society, inclusionism, the environment, and political intrigue; in a
word modernity (as understood, of course, by Modernists) which
had become synonymous with goodness itself. So they set about planning
a premature burial for a Church still very much alive and well. Interment
of the Body had been planned for 1965.
Of course, as we have painfully learned, the “progressives” had diagnosed
an illness that did not exist, and because they subsequently found that
it did not exist — and that they themselves were identified as
the pathogens infecting the sound and healthy Body — in a bid to rehabilitate
their now compromised integrity, they did what they were by now adept
at doing: they lied again. Desperate to justify their catastrophic
misdiagnosis, they declared the Church dead, and then performed a needless
autopsy — on a Body that never died — in order to dissect it, and having
planned beforehand to identify it as sick, declared in 1965 that it
had long been in need of “doctors” and medicine which only they
could have applied — with no less ghastly a result as any vivisection.
The good news is that, despite their best efforts, the patient lived
— and is still in recovery, and although the infection is severe, a
full recovery is expected. The bad news is that the same doctors are
still in charge. And among them is the Chief Resident.
Geoffrey K. Mondello
Boston Catholic Journal
March 31, 2023
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