Friday, January 31, 2014


Yes, Pope Francis is a populist. Yes, Pope Francis has never worked in the Vatican, has never been a worldwide celebrity and has never been pope except now for about eleven months.

Yes, Pope Francis has a pastor's heart and wears it on his sleeves. Yes, Pope Francis is a Jesuit with a vow of poverty and yes, Pope Francis as a Jesuit took the name of the first Franciscan, St. Francis of Assisi. And Yes, just as Pope Benedict took the name Benedict for symbolic reasons concerning the liturgy, Pope Francis took the name Francis for symbolic reasons concerning reform and simplicity.

Yes, Pope Francis has been given a mandate by the cardinals that elected him to reform the governance of the Church and to reform the clergy and the religious and the laity. And yes Pope Francis has been given a mandate by the cardinals to reform the Vatican, its bank, its diplomacy and its rank and file workers and to rid the Vatican of corruption and careerism.

Yes, Pope Francis has already excommunicated and/or laicized a couple of dissenting priests and certainly approved of the dismissal of one of his Jesuit brother-priests from the Jesuit Order.

Yes, Pope Francis has called Notre Dame University to accountability for its slide into secularism and its idol worship of the current POTUS. In fact this is the sober analysis of the very sober Whispers in the Loggia's blogger, Rocco Palma has to say about the Holy Father's words to priest-head of Notre Dame (the one who could hardly contain his starstruck gaze on President Obama which his university honored much to the chagrin and alarm of his local bishop):

"Over time, the propagated notion of a Pope bent on "changing" those aspects of church teaching that conflict with secularized Western society has aroused increasing concern among Francis' team, spurring a new strategy of increasingly explicit rebuttals. The latest example came just yesterday amid the cover piece for the forthcoming Rolling Stone – the first-ever papal fronting on the iconic magazine – which included a sidebar on "10 conservatives who have gone liberal" and was promptly rapped by the VatiSpox, Fr Federico Lombardi, as having "disqualified itself" by "falling in the usual mistake of a superficial journalism."

Today, the clarification of substance fell to Francis himself, during a mostly effusive hourlong meeting with a group from the University of Notre Dame, in Rome for the opening of the Golden Dome's new base in the city, and the winter meeting of its board of trustees"

My Final Comments: While the Holy Father's imprecise words or words that could be interpreted in a variety ways is causing some confusion amongst traditionalists, some joy amongst some progressives and some euphoric manipulation by secularists with a secularist agenda to promote, the Church and the papacy are front and center on the world stage today. And all the news is not dour or pessimistic or critical, but one of great interest and intrique. I suspect the Holy Spirit might be behind all this.

And don't the Sacred Scriptures and the very words of Jesus Christ in the Gospel cause the same sort of reaction amongst the various diverse groups of people in the world as some of the words of Pope Francis. Is Pope Francis Christ-like in confounding people?

Despite this, though, one thing is perfectly clear: Pope Francis is a son of the Church and he has proven it time and time again as I repeat it time and time again:

1. He calls every Catholic to fidelity to the Deposit of Faith (a term that drives progressives wildly crazy).

2. He calls for fidelity to the pope and the bishops in union with him, the Magisterium (another thing that drives progressives wildly crazy).

3. He is reviving the pre-Vatican II culture of popular devotions and sees these as the best vehicle of inculturation of the faith (which drives progressives wildly crazy).

4. He is bringing pre-Vatican II popular devotions' piety into the Mass, especially as it concerns veneration of the The Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints, which I personally witnessed twice a humongous papal Masses in St. Peter's Square at the Mass consecrating the world to Mary and the Mass for the Close of the Holy Year of Faith where Pope Francis held the bones of Saint Peter as He prayed the Credo! This is like a pre-Vatican II Catholic holding Rosary Beads during Mass (which drives progressives wildly crazy). 

5. He has preached time and time again about the devil (which drives progressives wildly crazy).

6. He celebrates the Mass by saying the black and doing the red and has done so in a sober, sudued "ad orientem sort of way" when facing the congregation but has also celebrated the Mass in a strictly ad orientem way twice now, as far as we know and have seen for ourselves (which drives progressives wildly crazy).

7. He has maintained the pre-Vatican II altar arrangement and has celebrated the OF Mass completely in Latin several times (which drives progressives wildly crazy)

8. And I predict he will celebrate an EF Mass before its all said and done (which will drive progressives wildly crazy and off the cliff like pigs possessed).


Adam said...

Oh come on, Fr. You really can't expect he'll celebrate the Old Mass. For a start he'll actually have to wear a full set of pontificals, which I sure can't see happening in a month of Sundays.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

It will not be a Missa Cantata, but a low Mass and from what John Nolan says, Pope Pius XII seldom celebrated Solemn High Pontifical Masses, preferring the Low Mass. So if he celebrates an EF Mass, it will be a low Mass with low Mass vestments. Of course this is my clairvoyance speaking, which of course is always true, but maybe not!

Anonymous said...

You are kidding yourself Father, sorry to say. He is the pope, yet rarely if ever even acknowledges that he is pope. That is strange, not humble. His statement about obsessing over abortion will haunt him throughout history. That statement alone shows me that he is incredibly imprudent. He is going out of his way to please Protestants and Jews and Muslims and pagans of all kinds. Yet the one group he refuses to show any kindness, a group that has been persecuted mercilessly from the Church herself is Traditional Catholics. It's uncalled for. We have remained faithful in the midst of the self destruction of the Church. We have been reviled by bishops, priests, nuns, the media......and now by the one person we thought we could rely on, the pope. We have seen every practice and tradition we value discarded and ridiculed. YES, traditional practices mean something to us. I know you can't undersytand that. But we need some kind of re assurance, and soon or there is going to be another split of Francis' causing. Would it kill him to wear choir dress and say the Canon in Latin. Would it kill him to explain and then formally change a rubric like the washing of the feet instead of blatantly violating it? Would it kill him to stop the name calling. Would it kill him to live in the Apostolic Palace like his predicessors. Would it kill him to stop mocking everything that Traditional Catholic value. It's not right, we don't deserve this. We have had to endure the Mass being changed, and virtually everything in the Catholic world change in order to placate a bunch of Protestants who will never accept the absolute truths of the Faith that can't be changed, but yet we continue to change the externals. Why doesn't he concentrate on deriding the EasternCatholics and leave us alone. He never stops the attacks on us, never. We deserve better, we have been faithful and now we are treated with derision, it's unjust. We will not abandon everything we love and respect because one man thinks it is silly. So where does that leave us. Does he want us to stay or leave. He bends over backwards for everybody else but refuses to offer one outstretched finger to us. I cannot understand it. This is a nightmare.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I'm not really kidding myself, because I'm not giving into the divisiveness of politics as it is experienced today in the secular realm and now being imposed upon Holy Mother Church and her pope and bishops. As well there is a bit of the heterodoxy of the divorce mentality amongst neo-traditionalists when it comes to some aspect of this papacy they dislike and in this realm are very much like their heterodox progressive brothers and sisters in picking and choosing what pope they will follow and won't. It is pure baloney and quite contrary to the Church's sure and certain discipline prior to Vatican II. Respect for the papacy and the institution of Holy Orders would never allow a Catholic in good conscience to malign a pope, bishop or priest or create calumnious statements based upon one off-the-cuff remark that has been clarified over and over again by our Holy Father as it concerns the sanctity of life from the first moment of conception and the need to safeguard and accept all of the Church's moral teachings.

And this from his homily this morning:
All too often today, the Pope observes, grave sin such as adultery is declassified as simply a "problem to be solved ." That’s what happens in today’s reading in which King David falls in love with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of his generals. Taking up this story, Pope Francis says David took her for his own and sent her husband to the front lines of battle where the man was killed. In actual fact, the Pope stressed, David also committed murder. And yet, having committed both grave sins, the King is not moved. Despite committing a grave sin, the Pope observes, David does not feel pity and fails to ask forgiveness. He only considers how he can resolve a problem.

This can happen to any of us, the Pope says, and observes “When the Kingdom of God diminishes, one of the signs is that you lose the sense of sin."

Conversely, you also lose the "sense of the Kingdom of God" and in its place, reflects the Pope, there emerges an “all-powerful anthropological vision," that leads us to believe we “can do anything.”

The Pope confesses that even he himself can fall into the trap of losing a sense of sin. But a commitment to daily prayer, he stresses, can counter the injustices perpetrated out of human pride and stop so many from falling victim to “Christian mediocrity” and our “unrecognized sins.”

Anonymous said...

Respect for the papacy and the institution of Holy Orders would never allow a Catholic in good conscience to malign a pope, bishop or priest or create calumnious statements based upon one off-the-cuff remark that has been clarified over and over again by our Holy Father.

When has he ever clarified that horrible statement? And what true Catholic even entertains thoughts like that? And I want to know what Church he is referring to? Exactly what Church is constantly obsessing about Doctrine and abortion? And who has lost the "sense of sin".? It's not Traditional Catholics that's for sure. He is doing what he wants to do because he can. He isn't doing what he needs to do, because if he did the world would hate him. It wasn't Traditional Catholics who went insane over the red shoes, it was/is liberals. The world loves Francis because he is of the world and they don't believe he really believes Catholic teaching. That is the truth and everybody knows it. Read Rolling Stone, that is why they love him because he isn't teaching the Faith.

Gene said...

I think many of us are just tired of hearing about this Pope. His careless statements, ambiguous comments, and dismissive observations about traditional Catholics and doctrine have made many of us just want to curl up somewhere with a bottle of liquor and wait until this Papacy is over. I personally prefer single malt, but this Pope only rates Jim Beam...

John Nolan said...

A pontifical Low Mass requires additional servers and a bugia bearer. Apart from that, it is a Low Mass. There is no such thing as a papal Missa Cantata, since this is something that is allowed when no deacon and subdeacon are available.

Had Pope Benedict celebrated a High Mass in the Old Rite, some of the ceremonial would have had to be simplified, since the papal court of 1962 no longer exists.

Pope Francis does celebrate Mass in Latin, and does use the Roman Canon. While the standard of musical performance in St Peter's may not be of English cathedral standard, it has greatly improved since JP II's time, and the injunction to give Gregorian Chant first place is assiduously observed, even in vernacular psalmody.

I am singing at two EF Masses this weekend, one celebrated by a FSSP priest and the other by a diocesan priest who has taken the trouble to learn the Old Rite. If we value the EF it is up to us, laity and priests at local level, to do something about it. As Fr Z points out, we have been given the bike, so take off the training wheels and ride the damn thing!

Православный физик said...

Believe me, it does not bring me joy to point out things with Pope Francis, nor does it bring anyone here joy to criticize.

We can't pretend that things are all unicorns, sunshine and rainbows, when they're not. Pope Francis does say things that are good and solid, at the same time he doesn't. Praise where praise is due, correction, where correction is due...but the vast majority of time it's the latter rather than the former, whether it's the "who am I to judge" (TM) , "little monsters" (TM) , intentionally disobeying Holy Thursday rubrics, or "the miracle is a sharing" when referring to the feeding of the 5 000. Whether he intends it or not, these things undercut any attempt at orthodoxy or orthopraxis that may occur. The same can be said for when the Bishops' supported Obamacare before they found out there was abortion in it. Not nipping things before they get worse always undercuts whatever authority or intention someone is trying to do. Even more so for the Pope than anyone else.

This image of St Francis being simplistic when it comes to the Liturgy has to go. St Francis wanted only the best for the Church's public prayer, the best vestments, the best vessels, etc.

We know that God does not author confusion, but I also wouldn't say necessarily that the devil's behind all the imprecise statements either, I'd say it's merely human weakness.

I do not think that that Pope Francis will celebrate an EF. The Liturgy is not Pope Francis' thing (although it should be) However, I would not be surprised if a certain Emeritus Pope would celebrate one in private or for guests he might have over.

The above said, I do thank you for giving us the good side of Pope Francis (even if on occasion I might think it's a bit much)'s good to not despair or constantly focus on the negative things, it's quite taxing. As I like to say, while I'm not as far to the right as the traditional blogs in their criticisms of Pope Francis. (I genuinely think he doesn't know), I'm not in the super sunshine and rainbows camp of the lefties either. It's a day by day thing.

Let us pray for our Holy Father Francis, Pope of Rome, Lord have mercy.

Anon friend said...

I think Joe has it right. It is well past time to stop focusing on human personalities, including the Pope's, and start focusing on how we each must improve our own involvement with Mother Church. It's gonna be a long marathon race, folks, not the 100 yd. dash we had hoped for...