Friday, April 29, 2016
POPE FRANCIS THE GREAT ENIGMA AND WHAT'S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE IS GOOD FOR THE GANDER
When it comes to the theology of the devil and hell, Pope Francis has clearly and often spoken about both but in a carrot and stick sort of way. This is quite traditional on one hand, but progressive on the other in the sense that his manner of speaking of the devil and hell is disarming, not shrill. It is also progressive for His Holiness to ask, "who am I to judge?"
But the true bombshell in terms of this pope's ambiguity is that His Holiness who is perceived by traditionalists to be ultra progressive, may be the very pope to reconcile to the Church the SSPX and completely so. And the other bombshell in association with this is that the SSPX gets everything it wants, meaning its rejection of some of the pastoral theology/ideology of the Second Vatican Council as it concerns religious liberty, ecumenism, interfaith dialogue and dialogue with the secular world to include atheists and agnostics. But more importantly they will be permitted to reject the revised Order of the Mass, if reports are accurate. This would seem to make Pope Francis an ultra-traditionalist.
But no! The progressive Pope Francis is showing true liberality in this regard and what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Progressives, of course, have had the upper hand in the Church since Vatican II, but they are disorganized unlike the SSPX which as a conservative movement is quite organized and legalistic.
We have not seen Pope Francis condemn to many progressive ideas, theology or ideologies. He never accuses them of being doctors of the law with their small minded rules which is a negative epitaph in Pope Francis' lexicon. That name calling is reserved for conservatives.
So Pope Francis himself embraces the Second Vatican Council's religious liberty, ecumenism, interfaith dialogue and dialogue with the secular world to include atheists and agnostics with a vengeance.
We have yet to hear him say very much about the Liturgy and that the reform of the liturgy was derailed by liberals. In South America, as Cardinal Jorge Bergolio, he watched a salacious tango performed in front of him and the altar in a church as a postlude to the Mass.
He was seen celebrating youth Masses where puppets where used as a gimmick.
Of course none of this has happened since he became pope.
Thus one can assume that the enigma of Pope Francis can allow for one group in the Church to reject significant portions of Vatican II and another group interpret the documents in the most liberal sort of way and find confirmation of that interpretation in the Holy Father himself.
Thus this Pope who leans left allows the right to have their way. But again, what's good for the goose is good for the gander--the left will be allowed to have their way too and both need to coexist in the Church that allows for traditional liturgy, piety, theology and sexual morality and progressive liturgy, lack of piety, theology and theology.
Can the two coexist? In my parish, for the most part yes and happily so. We have a large EF Community and an EF Mass celebrated on Sunday at a regularly scheduled Mass time and one of those Masses ad orientem every Sunday.
No one has complained to me about it, although the EFs complain that the EF Mass isn't every Sunday. But there isn't any vitriol about the EFs as their would have been toward the pre-Vatican II types in the 1970's and 80's.
Maybe we are growing up as a Church and Pope Francis is leading the way to the circus maximus of big tent Catholicism--or a more Biblical image, the Church that is the dragnet in this life where only God judges in the next life what is kept or thrown out?