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October 23, 2014

The Enigma of Pope Francis

Another wise take on the Synod–and Pope Francis. It’s from Fr Ray Blake’s blog.  It’s obviously been written in a bit of a hurry, so I’ve taken the liberty of straightening out some of the word order and  and punctuation a bit. I hope Father won’t mind.

I must admit I still don’t understand Francis. Is he the greatest thing since unsliced bread, a cunning old Jesuit, a conservative, a trad, a prophet, a fool or even the anti-Christ; a breath of fresh air or the stench from the tomb of those rather detestable men who surrounded the Blessed Paul VI and added to his suffering?

I have never done the Benedict through Francis thing at least, but neither am I entirely convinced of the Francis against Benedict thing. I am still perplexed and confused by him. Perhaps  in Francis, rather than having an Emperor who is wearing no clothes we actually have clothes with no Emperor. I mean those morning homilies that come out of the marble halls of  Santa Martha that are full of barbs but actually teach nothing. Perhaps we should expect nothing!

It is worth remembering that what many of the Cardinals were calling for before the Conclave was a de-centralised Church and greater Collegiality. The BBC, foolish people, have been talking about progressive Francis against the conservative Synod and how he failed to move the Church forward, as if the Synod was solely about the divorced and remarried, or practicing homosexuals. What seems to go under the radar is that for the first time in modern times Cardinals and Bishops have stood up to the Pope and very publicly defied him; some, like the Lion of the Synod Raymond Burke have even dared to demand he do his job and defend the faith, like Paul rebuking Peter.

What has happened in the Synod is that  those of us who would hope that the successor of the Apostle Peter should defend the faith from other Bishops, have turned our gaze from the successor of Peter to the successors of the other Apostles. This I think was the defining action of the Synod: for the first time most Catholics looked to Bishops, not the Pope, to defend the Faith.

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