Truth, Fights, Popes, and Hobbits.
Particularly in the United States, the cry of the pro-life and other Catholic militants who feel abandoned by Francis is rising high.
They rightly observe that when Francis says they are “obsessed” with issues like sodomy and abortion he is basically devaluing their battle, and rather making of them an example of a behaviour not to be followed: an “inflexible”, “ideological” attitude that leaves “mercy” aside to privilege “legalism”.
This is all very true, of course. By subtly – or less subtly – sabotaging their work, Francis is saying that it is good to be “pro-life” only as long as this remains at the level of a pious wish, of the “I know what the Church says in the matter, so we don't need to talk about it” kind. When, though, the teaching translates into real action – and, forcibly, in controversial action – then the boundaries of “mercy” have been transgressed, and the realm of Pelagianism has begun.
Still, when all is said and done the Truth remains exactly the same Truth, and the fight remains exactly the same fight. One can be abandoned by the Pope, but one can never be abandoned by Truth.
Fights are fought for the Truth, not for the Pope. The Pope is supposed to fight the same fight, but there is no guarantee that he will do it properly, or that he will do it at all. The only way is to do what we ought, come what may, and to let the Pope be a bad Pope if this is his wish. The day will come when both – the pro-life activist and the professional saboteur – will get their reward.
For the same reason, I was never worried in the least about the effect that the antics of the Bishop of Rome will have on my blogging activity. We write our blogs because the Clergy don't do their job; that there should be a Pope even much, much worse than the already bad average seen after V II is, if not entirely par for the course, certainly within the cards now that a mad generation of blind, stupid, heretical, deluded clergy gone out of the seminaries in the Sixties and Seventies reach positions of great power and influence, up to the very top of the tree.
Let us do our job of little but determined Catholic fighters, like as many stubborn hobbits who love to eat and be merry, but can put a rather determined fight if they have to (ahh, Tolkien. So good, and so Catholic…). If Francis wants to sabotage our work – which he does – let us redouble our effort. We don't need to have the Pope on our side. We fight at the side of two thousand years of God-given Catholic tradition, not of fifty years of popes more or less drunk on modernism, up to the one who is completely plastered.
V II hasn't produced anything good anyway; merely degrees of bad. When we realise this, we will be able to fight our little fights – within the family, with friends and acquaintances, with colleagues – without looking left or right. Yes, we will probably die without seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. But we might be rewarded, in time, with an infinitely better one.