Where’s Your Mercy, Holy Father?
This poster has appeared in lots of places all over Rome. It says , in Roman working-class patois: “Hey, Frankie, you’ve policed congregations, removed priests, beheaded the Order of Malta and the Franciscans of the Immaculate, ignored Cardinals … but where is your mercy?” Progressive bloggers say the posters are the work of “conservatives”; Cardinal Ouellet, (usually regarded as a “conservative”) says they are the work of the devil and show that the pope is doing right. The city authorities are pasting them over with notices saying the posters are “illegal”.
I met a young man after Mass on Sunday who told me that the atmosphere in Rome is such that supporters of one traditional priestly society are wondering whether, like the Israelites of old, they should smear blood on the lintels of their doors, so that the angel of death—or in this case Mercy—will pass them by. When this priestly society organised a pilgrimage to Rome last year, they were given the smallest possible church the authorities could find. But this turned out very well for them because the church was crammed with Trads; and this was duly noted by the media. If they’d been allowed the use of some vast basilica, the attendance would have looked rather sparse, and any publicity would have far less favourable.
Interestingly, criticism of this pontificate has now spread far beyond Trad organs like The Remnant. The broadly conservative New Oxford Review goes so far as to describe Pope Francis’s style of Church governance as vindictive, and says some observers are comparing the mood in and around Rome to that of post-revolutionary Bolshevik Russia. The NOR has become quite militant in its alliterative reaction to our beloved Holy Father’s refusal to clear up the ambiguity and confusion over Amoris Laetitia. Requests for clarity, it says, have been met with “rage, reprimands, and threats of repression. Welcome to Francis’s Vatican, where fury, fear and fractionalisation rule the day.”
I think you’ll agree that this is pretty strong stuff.