Damning With Very Faint Praise: Sandro Magister On Francis
Sandro Magister is a veteran journalist. He does not express himself with the virulence of a blog writer. He couldn’t, because he writes for others.
As I have already written in the past, there is a way of saying things in Italy which, whilst probably diffused everywhere, is particularly developed in the Italian political discourse, and very much so when the topic is the Holy Father.
I have already written about the petition of the centre-right newspaper Il Foglio, also officially praising Francis whilst he is petitioned to show some, well, pontifical attributes already. No, let me rephrase it: to show some balls, which hasn’t happened up to now.
Very recently, Sandro Magister has intervened on the issue, but in a far more robust manner. Again, this being Italy and the Pope you must read between the lines. Which, in this case, isn’t really difficult. The emphases are mine.
The incipit/presentation already sets the tone:
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.
This is devastating. The Church is humiliated. Francis is exalted. Fine with him. So desirous he is of popularity that he shuts up even after the Belgian euthanasia law. His strategy is to shut up and be popular. No, really, read it again, and notice the words I have emphasised. This is what the article says, in the only way in which it can be said. If anything, one is surprised at the bluntness.
[...] the cover dedicated to him by the magazine “Rolling Stone,” a full-fledged coronation in the temple of pop culture.
That’s another one. A Pope for the stupid masses. A T-shirt image. The pop culture icon. No, these are not compliments. But boy, this is said in a smart way.
“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”.
The unspeakable is told against the Church’s teaching. Francis only is spared, even praised. As the teacher would have asked at school: “Mundabor, what does the author want to say?” Well, mam’, isn’t it clear enough?
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.
Let me rephrase this for you: “No one knows what the heck this man is thinking. His confused statements are all over the place, and do not make sense at all. He is only able to throw punches in the air when there is no adversary around, but he is nowhere to be seen whenever his words would cause opposition from the world”
“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”.
“What the man thinks, he does not say. He is a Jesuit, you see”.
“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 manages to be, at times, Catholic when his official orthodoxy (in which we desperately want to believe, or at least we must say so) can be buried in the middle of a 50,000 words mega-statement, never mentioned by the press. But when there is some heated discussion, he invariably chickens out”.
“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”.
“He shuts up about euthanasia, sodomy and destruction of the family, and the unprecedented affront of the EU report. There’s nothing he would not shut up about, if speaking would make him unpopular”.
“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”.
“Look, I have already told you no one knows what the heck the man is doing. I do not want to end up like the “Radio Maria” journalists. So please bear with me and pretend you believe this rubbish”.
“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”.
“The Pope speaks stupid slogans for the masses, that everyone can highjack for his own purposes. Copy-and-paste fluff. That’s why he is popular whilst the Church is insulted”.
“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”.
“Can you see the difference? Benedict did not shun the fight, and the world hated him ferociously. Francis avoids anything vaguely resembling a conflict with the world, and the world adores him”.
I have no doubt whatsoever some rather angry phone calls will be directed at the editor of the “Espresso”; a magazine which, whilst undoubtedly leftist, cherishes its supposed unbiased attitude towards issues near to the heart of the Country, and its link to its more moderate readership. Without a doubt, a soft but suitable pressure will be gently applied to the star journalist who must not be allowed to have his own foreign policy; and who, obviously, already knows it, and knows what he can write and how he can avoid breaking too much china.
Wait for some weakly praising articles of Bergoglio from the same author in the days and weeks to come. Alas, it’s how things are done in Italy. First, no enemies.
Still, those who can read will understand the implications, and will know what’s brewing. Plenty of those intelligent and informed readers in Italy; a country that whilst generally very blunt can be – exactly because of the dangers of the usual bluntness – full of subtle communications codes, and where even murders can be and in fact are commissioned without the need to give an explicit order.
Make no mistake, this was a huge torpedo. The Italian way, that is.
Posted on February 26, 2014, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged euthanasia, l'espresso, Pope Francis, Sandro Magister, so-called same sex marriages. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.