Saturday, 19 October 2013
Interpretations of Pope Francis
Those intrepid bloggers at Rorate Caeli have noted several reports regarding Pope Francis; reports which are worth looking at for their interpretations of him, and which can be found here.
RC first notes that
“Sandro Magister, journalist at L'Espresso, a star among Vaticanists, releases in his blog Chiesa, every week, and at times every day, severe criticisms of Pope Francis”.
Many blogs express concerns over Francis: his ‘humility’ is questioned as he brings photographers into the pope-mobile, thereby ensuring good photographs of his person-centeredness; his comment that “I have the humility to...” might remind English-speaking people of the quip, “There’s no one as humble as I am”. Additionally, his renunciation of liturgical tradition at the Mandatum of Holy Thursday left many with the impression that he has little or no understanding of liturgy and doctrine as having a ‘lex orandi, lex credendi’ union. Further, his “who am I to judge?” response when asked about homosexuals left many completely disorientated: if the Vicar of Christ cannot judge what is and is not sin for the guidance of God’s flock, we are at great risk of being led astray –and makes the doctrine of infallibility a nonsense.
RC also notes Mattia Rossi, II Foglio, October 11, saying that
"Francis is in the process of founding a new religion opposed to Catholic magisterium"
and Rino Cammilleri, saying in Il Giornale, October 10:
"Flock before doctrine? We risk losing both".
One wonders what can be said in regard to Pope Francis -and who am I to judge? I shall let history do the judging. What I can say is that Francis appears to me a man of deep concern for folk who suffer, and that cannot be criticised. It is one mark of a saint. But that does not mean he could not be advised to do some reflecting on his off-the-cuff style if he wants to go down in history as having been orthodox in Doctrine and practice since his non-magisterial remarks are disorientating many and getting too much publicity from liberal catholics and the Main Stream Media. Even the promotion of Francis by the MSM and the liberal catholic press as a humble pope appears questionable when they also report his public claim to be humble. As one of my parishioners commented,
“by abandoning Papal regalia for coming onto the balcony the night he was elected he suggested that his predecessors lacked humility because they wore them, while his claim to ‘have the humility’ suggests he is proud of his humility -which is a contradiction giving lie to his humility. The man needs to learn how to distinguish between himself and the office he holds, not disempower the office because he is so wrapped up in it he sees himself as a religious CEO who wants to look good to those he obviously views as his inferiors in that he ditched papal regalia ‘to be one of them’”.
Certainly we must note the human touch of Francis when he meets the crowds, but this is no different to the human touch displayed by the likes of Pius X, Pius XII, John XXIII, John-Paul II and Benedict XVI. It is not new. What is new and disturbing is a Pope’s apparent unwillingness to judge sin. It might be that Francis was simply refusing (as must all of us) to judge persons while leaving intact the Church’s teaching on homosexual acts as objectively disordered and sinful. If so, he ought to have been clearer.
One cannot help but wonder why the Pope’s advisors are not advising more prudence when it is clear his off-the-cuff remarks are disorientating the faithful and perhaps leading souls astray (such as those who are active homosexuals and divorced/civilly-remarried who think he will validate their lifestyle choices by declaring them compatible with the teaching of Christ). Francis will know he cannot change established teaching of the Church without falling into heresy, but he may not be aware that he is allowing himself to be seen as doing so; that he is being presented as someone oblivious to the fact that orthodoxy in doctrine must be expressed in orthopraxy; and as oblivious to the fact that true and charitable pastoral care of the sinner cannot in any way endorse their sin. Sadly, the impression that Francis is seeking to provide a pastoral care not in keeping with orthodox doctrine does not appear to be lacking, either among solid Catholics who are disorientated by him, or among liberal catholics and the MSM who praise him. I suggest to readers that the latter praise him because they think he will do what in fact he cannot do: change Church teaching on the hot-button issues of homosexuality; divorce, contraception, abortion and women priests. Pope Francis’s off-the-cuff remarks are not going to be -and actually cannot be- elevated to the status of magisterial teaching. What they can do –and are doing- is misleading the weak into false hope; disorientating the faithful, and angering the strong. As a result, a person might be forgiven for thinking that all he or she is getting in this period of Bergoglio’s papacy is the promotion of Bergoglio, and a challenge to the Church. Neither the Pope’s own advisors, the liberal catholic press or the MSM are doing anything good for Jorge Bergoglio -or the people of God.