Pope Francis attends his weekly general audience, held in the Paul VI hall, at the Vatican Sept. 1. (AP /Andrew Medichini
There are two articles or commentaries in the National Chismatic Reporter (NCR) that should make Catholics scratch their head about the desire to return the Church to the failed 1970’s approach to Catholicism.
Let’s contextualize this by saying that Pope Francis recently said that His Holiness should have been more forthcoming about his infatuation with Vatican II in the 1960’s and especially once he was ordained in 1969, 11 year before I was. He loved that period of time and it continues to shape him, the late 1960’s and early 70’s prior to Pope John Paul II’s election—this is the crux of the problem that this pope has created. He is trying desperately to get back to the heyday of his youth and thinks that moving forward, walking together means going back to that heady period of so many Catholics, especially bishops and priests of his age.
That’s the context.
Then Jesuit Father Reese has a peculiar commentary in the NCR this morning giving five rules to disagree with this pope. Implicit in the five rules and the fact that a Jesuit is writing the commentary tells us that we are in a huge problem with the divisiveness this pope has created throughout his papacy.
You can read the commentary HERE.
But this says it all:
"I personally deserve attacks and insults because I am a sinner," said the pope, "but the church does not deserve them. They are the work of the devil."
He also complained of "clerics who make nasty comments about me." He admitted, "I sometimes lose patience, especially when they make judgments without entering into a real dialogue."
Attacks on popes from clerics and the media are not new. These attacks come from the left or the right depending on who is pope.
While I find it unbecoming for a pope to be gossiping publicly about how poorly he is treated either by Raymond Aroyyo or certain clerics, His Holiness has made extremely nasty comments about priests and others who hold to traditional Catholic teaching and calls them rigid as though he is capable of making psychological assessments of vast groups of people. He has not answered the Cardinals that questioned his theology. He has dumped cardinals from their positions and not given them new ones.
Has he ever met with traditional groups of Catholics who desire the older form of the Mass and went yearly to Rome and in large numbers and were welcome in St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate the EF Mass there? No! Never! And His Holiness wonders why people are angry at him!
He has created the mess in the Church which we are now experiencing but he is blaming everyone else for it. That is what is so said. The Holy Father constantly projects onto others what he himself is responsible for causing.
Then there’s this little ditty in the NCR today, which you can read here, about how unprepared America is for the pope’s self-referential synod on synods of all things as though anyone is really excited by this including aging hippie priests ordained in the 60’s:
Natalia Imperatori-Lee, a religious studies professor at Manhattan College who teaches courses on Vatican II and contemporary Catholicism, told NCR that there are several factors to explain the tensions between Francis' vision of a synodal church and the church in the United States. Among them, she said, is a particular brand of clericalism where priests used to the style of ministry of the late Pope John Paul II effectively "are the ones running the church" in the country.
"Priests are not accustomed to collaborating with laypeople in this country, in part because the way we have tried to garner vocations has been to emphasize how set apart they are, and that’s a legacy of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who continued that," Imperatori-Lee said.
Thus, a major part of the full steam ahead to schism that Pope Francis has created is his repudiation of what Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI tried to accomplish—a correction of the path of the wrong headed 1960’s and 70’s spirit of Vatican II mentality that has and is destroying so much of authentic Catholic identity. No wondering people are so angry at Pope Francis and not just traditionalists. Of course most who are angry are social media nerds who read blogs.
Then Cardinal Wilton Gregory seems to blame the victims of all of this unnecessary upheaval in the Church caused by the current pope when He says:
At a meeting of U.S. bishops' last June, Gregory spoke against such measures and warned that in his 38 years of being a bishop, he had never seen the bishops' conference so divided.
On Monday, he told NCR he stands by that assessment.
"I certainly do still see the divisions there and they trouble me," the cardinal said. "They sadden me."
The good Cardinal fails to criticize the one causing the divisions and the ones who are the victims of it are the ones who really want a unified Church which was occurring as a result of the last two popes, one who is still living to watch what is happening to that legacy.