Two centers of world power are both in chaos. I will skip for now the chaos in Washington, D.C. The chaos in the Vatican is most interesting. The current pope, Francis, is known as a Jesuit progressive and a modern Catholic. Many of his critics are what used to be called Catholic integrists; these are traditionalists, some even call them Catholic fascists since they were warm towards fascism in Europe in the past.
Many of the integrists have been unhappy for decades with the liberalization of Catholicism since Vatican II: the friendship with the Jews; the openness to non-Christian and non-Catholic people; the emphasis on social justice and other social questions. The liberals are their enemies. Some wonder if the attacks on Pope Francis are less about priestly misconduct as they claim than about undermining the liberals in the church.
Recently, Pope Francis was in Lithuania, where he warned the people there, mostly Catholic, to beware of the antisemitism which permitted the murder of almost 200,000 Jews both before and during the Nazi invasion in 1941, which was welcomed by many anti-Soviet Lithuanians. Unfortunately for the pope, many Catholics unfriendly to Jews can claim that antisemitism is very, very Catholic, begun by the early gentile Christians even before the writing of the Gospels. So the pope finds it hard to defend his friendship with the Jews when attacked by Catholic enemies who hide their motives with pretensions of concern about priestly sexual abuse.
Does this seem somewhat like the struggles over sexual abuse alleged against Judge Brett Kavanaugh before the Senate Judiciary Committee? A scene where few are honest about their motives and their purposes but all conceal their inner desires with the cloak of hypocrisy and fraud? And on both sides. I rather think so.
Norman Ravitch, Savannah