Friday, February 21, 2014


I have stated that Pope Francis, although progressive when is comes to the care of people and pastoral sensibilities, is in continuity with Pope Benedict when it comes to doctrine and dogma and (apart from his pedestrian, non-aristocratic shunning of papal protocol and vesture)even liturgically.

Where it differs though in a direct way is with the strategy of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI in terms of confrontation with the forces of secular evil against the Church. He chooses another way and it is worth waiting to see if this is of the Holy Spirit for this time and place of the papacy. Read on:

The Devil's Double-cross, For and Against Pope Francis

A UN report humiliates the Church while exalting the current pontiff. Who is not reacting and is even remaining silent after Belgium has legalized the euthanasia of children. The risks of the strategy of silence adopted by Bergoglio

by Sandro Magister

ROME, February 21, 2014 - Almost one year after his election as pope, the popularity of Francis continues its triumphal march.  But he himself is the first not to want to entrust himself to the applause that is coming to him from even the most unexpected and far-flung venues.

For example, the cover dedicated to him by the magazine "Rolling Stone,” a full-fledged coronation in the temple of pop culture.

Or the commendation that by the report of the UN committee on the rights of the child has bestowed on the famous "Who am I to judge?" spoken by Pope Francis, the only one spared in a Catholic Church against which the worst of the worst is said in the same report.

In his first morning homilies as pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio often referred to the devil. And even this manner of speaking was appreciated, was found endearing.

But one morning, on November 19, instead of the devil he  took aim at the “single form of thinking that is the fruit of worldliness,” that wants to subject everything to “hegemonic uniformity.” A single form of thought, he continued, that already dominates the world and even legalizes “the death penalty,” even “human sacrifices” complete with "laws that protect them." And he cited one of his favorite novels, the apocalyptic "Lord of the World" by Robert H. Benson.

When early this February he leafed through the sixteen pages of the UN report,  which peremptorily enjoin upon the Catholic Church that it “correct” its teaching on abortion, on the family, on sex, Francis must have become even more convinced that events were proving him right, that the prince of this world was really at work and by heaping praise on his vaunted "openness" wanted to associate even him, the pope, with the enterprise of making the Church conform to the hegemonic school of thought, in order to annihilate it.

It is not easy to enter into the mind of pope Bergoglio. His words are like the tiles of a mosaic whose design is not immediately apparent. He also makes tough and biting remarks, but never at a moment in which they could generate conflict.

If he had pronounced that tremendous homily of his against the single form of thought that intends to hegemonize the world the day after the publication of the UN report and explicitly in response to it, the event would have entered into the "breaking news" of global information. But it was not to be. Delivered on an arbitrary day, that same homily did not cause the slightest chagrin. It was ignored.

And yet it is precisely there that the concealed thought of the Jesuit pope is to be found, his judgment on the present era of the world.

"The view of the Church is known, and I am a son of the Church," Francis says and says again. His thought is the same as that which is written in the catechism. And sometimes he recalls this combatively for those who expect him to change doctrine, as in the least-cited passage of his "Evangelii Gaudium," where he has the harshest of words against the "right" to abortion.
But he never proclaims Church teaching out loud at a moment when the dispute over an issue has become heated.

He has kept quiet now that the euthanasia of children has been permitted by law in Belgium. He keeps himself apart from the millions of citizens of every faith who in France and in other countries are opposing the dissolution of the idea of the family made up of father, mother, and children. He has remained silent after the unprecedented affront of the UN report.

With this he intends to blunt the weapons of the adversary. To defeat him with the immense popularity of his figure as pastor of the mercy of God.

There is a Jacobin-style attack against the Church, not only in France, that simply wants to exclude it from civil discourse.

But there is also a more subtle attack that cloaks itself as a consensus for a Church refurbished and new, up to date, in step with the times. There is also this in the popularity of Francis, a pope "like never before," finally "one of us," molded through a copy-and-paste of his open, adaptable statements.

This worldly cunning could not have been used against his predecessor, Benedict XVI. He, the meek one, preferred conflict in the open field, with the courage of the yes that means yes and the no that means no, "in season and out of season," as in Regensburg, when he lifted the curtain on the theological roots of the connection between faith and violence in Islam, and yet again on the "non-negotiable" questions. This is why the world was so ferocious with him.

With Francis it is different. A new match. But not even he knows how the game will unfold, now that he is getting tougher.


Jonathan said...

Have you read the article in the latest issue of ESQUIRE? Titled, "At last, a Pope for us pagans", it gives the typical spin of how the Church , because of the alleged sex abuse scandal and alleged cover up, has lost all moral authority, and "most" Catholics ignore or outright reject Church teaching on sexuality, etc. They say how smart Francis is, by putting the religous aspect of the Church on the back burner (using the infamous "who am I to judge" quote), and is moving forward to rebranding the Church as a non-religous social justice organization by putting helping the poor and the sick at the forefront of this "new" Catholic Church, attracting pagans with compassion and throwing out dogma.

GenXBen said...

The secular media loves Pope Francis for the same reason people in the West loved Former Soviet Leader Mihail Gorbechev. When Gorby, as he was affectionately known, was feted on the NYSE it was not because the capitalists in the West suddenly thought it was cool to be a Communist. They loved him because he validated their animosity towards the Communists. Westerners said that central planning was a disaster: Gorby agreed. Westerners said that an independent press was essential to freedom. Gorby agreed. Westerners said that communism squelched human dignity. Gorby didn't actually want to scrap communism, but did agree that things could be better.

So editors of Rolling Stone and the wonks in the UN are unlikely to show up at the next RCIA meeting. They love Pope Francis because they think they won the war. They see the Pope's white robes and see a white flag. And, while they don't expect the Church to crumble overnight, they are at least cheered that there's a vigorous wing of the Church that agrees with them.

Jesus said "woe to you when all men speak well of you". Cardinal Ratzinger said if he didn't get criticized in the press once a week, then he needed to examine his conscience. I'm not sure how Francis takes all this in.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

BF, Pope Francis style is to create dialogue with the world but he has certainly and without mincing his words condemned the worldly spirit, that of Satan.
I think that those who manipulate Pope Francis and heap praise upon him for all the wrong reasons know exactly what they are doing since they realize that Pope Francis is much more of a populist with rank and file Catholics and thus is more likely to get a hearing from the tepid Catholics of our generation. They did not fear this with Pope Benedict and went against him as wolves would knowing that no one would complain. They can't do this with Pope Francis and they know it. So they falsify what he stands for.
Will Pope Francis strategy work? No strategy of any pope is infallible and we have to leave room for the big picture of salvation history until its conclusion. But Jesus wasn't successful in the eyes of the world either.