How Do You Solve a Problem Like Pope Francis?
Only one sin is nowadays severely punished: the attentive observance of the traditions of our Fathers. For that reason the good ones are thrown out of their places and brought to the desert.
—St Basil the Great
I’m glad I’m not still editing the Brandsma Review. If I were, I would feel compelled to adopt some kind of editorial policy towards Pope Francis, nailing my colours to the mast (and thus losing lots of subscribers).
Lots of traditional Catholics have formed a sort of circular firing squad. To take just two examples, The Remnant and ChurchMilitant.TV, both stalwart traditionalist outfits, have been knocking lumps out of each other. The latter thinks it is quite beyond the Pale—indeed, unCatholic—to conclude that the Holy Father himself is in large part responsible for the scandalous mess the Church is in—in effect, that the blame must be laid elsewhere because a reigning Pope is above such criticism. The Remnant feel free to bash Pope Francis as hard as they believe he deserves.
I don’t like being a fence-sitter, but I don’t fully accept either of these alternatives. I indicated three months or so ago that I was finding it difficult to work out a coherent position on this tangled problem, and after that Synod, I still am.
I asked myself some questions back then, and now I have some more to ask.
Was it not Francis who conceived and called the Synod on the Family?
Didn’t Francis praise Cardinal Kasper’s “profound and serene theology” of “mercy” according to which public adulterers would be allowed to receive Holy Communion while continuing in their adultery (as Francis appears to have authorised when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires)?
Was it not Francis who appointed all of the Synod’s radically progressive controllers?.
Was it not Francis who presided over every minute of the Synod, constantly passing notes to his handpicked General Secretary, Cardinal Baldisseri?
Was it not Francis who stacked the Synod’s drafting committee with six additional radical progressives?
Was it not Francis who overrode the Synod’s vote by ordering the publication and distribution worldwide of the totally rejected and shamefully heterodox mid-term report—a veritable transcript of Kasper’s “profound and serene” theology—which called for Holy Communion for public adulterers on a “case-by-case basis” and an “opening” to “gays” that would include “guaranteeing to them a fraternal space” and “accepting and valuing their sexual orientation”?
Was it not Francis who ordered the publication of three objectionable paragraphs in the Synod’s final report even though they failed to receive the required two-thirds majority and thus should not have been part of the report?
Was it not Francis who, at the Synod’s conclusion, denounced “so-called traditionalists” for not being open to “the God of surprises” and who declared the next day that “God is not afraid of new things”?
Was it not Francis who sacked Cardinal Raymond Burke from his influential position as head of the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest court, and put him in charge of the Knights of Malta instead?
Was it not Francis who ruthlessly crushed the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, not for any recognisable offence, but for their devotion to the Church’s perennial liturgy?
The answer to all these questions, as I think you will agree, is Yes.
What can we do about it? Not a lot, I fear, except pray for the Holy Father and just hang on in there. The modernists would be delighted to see traditional Catholics go into schism or sedevacantism. It’s a case of illegitimis ne carborundum.
If any readers of this blog have any helpful ideas, please help me out. I’m still perplexed.