Of course, as we all know, Pope Benedict never rode in an open air jeep, he had to be behind bullet proof glass all the time!
Everyone is trying to read the tea leaves or focus their crystal balls to see where Pope Francis will lead the Church. So every move he makes, we think there is a symbolic meaning behind it, when in fact there may simply be practical considerations.
Also, I do think the "smoke of Satan" is entering the Church and her various divisive factions to derail Pope Francis or derail the traditionalist's desire for more respect from the institutional Church especially her pastors, i.e. bishops and priests.
Thus some in the Church with the aid of the media, both Catholic and otherwise seem to be pitting Pope Francis against Pope Benedict and thus tradition. John Allen in the NCR, the National Chismatic Reporter, has a good article on this which you can READ HERE.
1. The first incendiary false report, reported though on Catholic blogs as fact, was that Pope Francis told Msgr. Marini, the papal Master of Ceremonies, that when he was given the mozzetta to put on prior to coming to the loggia for his announcement, that he told Msgr. Marini, "the carnival is over." That is somewhat crass and insulting not only to Msgr. Marini but to many others in the Church, but evidently not all. Many took sinful pleasure in this falsehood. We know now, that it is Pope Francis' desire to not to put on airs. Now we might not like that, we might disagree with that, but that is the fact. He didn't say "the carnival is over."
2. A complete falsehood to make Pope Benedict look bad compared to the new pope is that Pope Francis immediately sent Cardinal Law packing to a monastery. This was reported as fact and even many of my commenters were duped by this fake story. It was a parody, I believe, to show that either Pope Benedict could have done this as easily as Pope Francis did, or that Pope Francis isn't going to do anything like Pope Benedict. In either case it is a slam against the pope.
3. The other contrast is that Pope Francis is the "people's pope" and Pope Benedict never engaged the crowds or rode in an open air jeep in the square. That is a lie as evidenced by the photos above taken just last year.
We know too that Pope Benedict wore simple vestments of modern style, as well as miters, and that he wore very elaborate, ornate antique vestments and that he likes the little "t" traditions associated with the papal court and the deference shown the office of the papacy, although I would say that Pope Benedict himself is a very humble person. But he was able to make the distinction between his own personality and the personality of the office, so to speak and enhanced the personality of the office while subduing his own.
Pope Francis has a different take on this and is imposing, as it were, what he would perceive to be a noble simplicity upon the office of the papacy in line with his theology of the Church identifying with the poor and that possessions are not important as you can't put them in the pocket of your burial shroud since there aren't any.
Just as many progressives dislike so much that Pope Benedict brought back, including the 1962 missal, traditionalists will dislike Pope Francis putting some of these things back into the closet and ignoring them. I don't think he will suppress any of them and certainly not Summorum Pontificum. He won't advocate it either. I think he will have a live and let live papacy especially as it regards the liturgy, OF or EF.
But if you notice the photo of Pope Benedict out in the open air jeep less than a year ago, you will notice that his vestments are as simple as the one that Pope Francis wore on Palm Sunday.
A year from now we will be in a better position to evaluate the pros and cons of the papacy of Pope Francis and what effect it is having on the Church.
So far, I think his mandate and agenda are the following, some of which will affect bishops more than laity and priests. So his agenda may be to reform the style of the bureaucracy of the Church and that will be good, for both at the Vatican and in dioceses the bureaucracy sometimes thwarts the ministry of bishops and is not responsive to either the bishop's agenda or the needs of the Church, universal or local.
So this is the agenda I see emerging for the papacy of Pope Francis.
1. He will model for other bishops what bishops should be doing in their own dioceses. That is why Pope Francis is emphasizing that he is the Bishop of Rome and is trying first to win his own diocese over to him. He is the pope of the people and is reaching out to his parishioners and endearing them to him. All bishops should be doing that and not set themselves so distant from the laity that he seem unapproachable.
2. His liturgies are quite beautiful thus far, very reverent and very solemn. Okay, he can't sing but we can't hold that against him or make more out of that than it is. Bishops should have beautiful liturgies.
3. The curia will be reformed and streamlined and that will be a blessing on many levels. Dioceses need to do the same thing. BLOAT is the biggest problem in many dioceses with some personnel power hungry rather than service oriented, carping at the very people they are to serve rather than supporting them. The amount of money spent on useless positions is a scandal both in the Vatican and local dioceses.
4. He will be like Pope John Paul II in his ability to inspire young and bring them closer to the Church and Christ. He will continue to challenge the dictatorship of relativism and individualism as Pope Benedict did.
5. He will continue to try to recover from the sex scandals in the Church and purify the Church of the filth. But he is going to preach mercy and its great abyss and that the Church should not bow to the revenge seeking victim advocacy groups and the litigious lawyers who are profiting off of this tragedy. Reconciliation between the bishops who have sinned in their mismanagement of their dioceses and the laity put off by the scandal of infidelity and perversion left unchecked will be his goal, but not in the worldly sense of revenge seeking, but justice tempered by mercy.
BUT FOLKS, LET'S WAIT A YEAR AND GET TO KNOW POPE FRANCIS AND LET US SEE IF THERE IS A REVIVAL IN CATHOLICISM IN ROME, ITALY, THE REST OF EUROPE AND TO THE WORLD. CLAIRVOYANT THAT I AM, BUT MAYBE NOT, I PREDICT THAT THERE WILL BE THINGS HE DOES THAT WE LIKE AND THINGS THAT HE DOES THAT WE DISLIKE. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? WE ARE ADULTS AND CAN TAKE IT! THE CHURCH IS MORE THAN ANY ONE POPE.
Other myths debunked, like Pope Benedict never ate or would sip in public:
And Pope Benedict sipping water publicly at Christmas Eve Mass this past year and wearing the fannon to boot while he does it. You can't get any more humble than that!
And of course Pope Benedict never touched or kissed people, so cold and aloof was he:
Yes this was taken when Benedict was still pope: