It is well-known Italians are an emotional bunch, and generally a pleasantly emotional one; but what happened in Italy during the weekend is truly beyond the pale.
No less than a priest apparently dared to burn a photography of, no less, the former Pope.
In church. During the Homily.
The man (I do not know how long he will be active as a priest; perhaps at 67 he is simply looking for a way to be pensioned) is, we are told, incensed at Pope Benedict’s abdication; so much so that he compared the Pontiff Emeritus to Mr Schettino, the man in charge of the Costa Concordia and all too ready to abandon ship when the going got very, very rough. Though one wonders whether he burned in church Schettino’s effigy, too…
I must first remark that I thought that in every criticism of a Pope (or former one) one remains within the boundary of elementary decency; if not out of respect for the man, certainly out of respect for the office. That a priest of all people should recur to methods fitting for Muslim fanatics is truly more than we should ever be forced to hear.
Secondly, I cannot avoid noticing that in this day and age the suspicion is justified such stunts are put in place to attract the attention of the media, as noone in his right mind can think he can do such a thing and escape publicity. The least offensive comment that can be made is that the pulpit is evidently not enough for the unfortunate man.
The third reflection is that I have the suspicion such senseless hatred is the result of pent-up aggression towards the Church, grown to the point of fanaticism and which finds, one day, an escape valve in a broadly unrelated event, taken as excuse. This priest can’t be normal, or feel good within the Church. On the contrary, this looks like one who has a huge gripe against his tunic, and looks for a scapegoat and for a convenient (for the publicity) outlet for his rage. A normal priest might, in case, well be angry, or critical, or ironic, or even slightly sarcastic. But this is really too much.
Being this the nuChurch of Vatican II, the bishop was apparently told to “mind his own business” after criticising his rather emotional subordinate.
I do not know the age of the bishop of Ventimiglia, but I hope he never becomes Pope. Then in such a case we’d be in huge trouble.
The amount of wishful thinking Catholics are capable of can at times only be called staggering.
The last one I have read about is that the Blessed Virgin might have appeared to the Holy Father requesting that he steps down. Allow me to share with you a couple of thoughts about this theory.
1. The thinking here seems to be “I do not agree with the Pope’s decision. The Pope can never do something wrong. Therefore, it must have been told by the Blessed Virgin”. If you ask me (which you do, because you are still reading…) there is a good deal of Clericalism here, and – hoping not to be offensive for anyone – more than a hint of Papolatry. When Protestants mock us for such outlandish ideas, I can’t say they are wrong.
2. It appears more than a couple of people were not paying attention when the Holy Father issued his historic statement on the 11 February. In it, the Holy Father speaks clearly of his lack of spiritual energy.
Such a heavily loaded statement cannot be simply ignored. It is inconceivable that the Pope would not know that to have to cope with age is rather common for a Pope. Therefore, he is humble and honest enough to tell the real reason of his abdication. Again, it is staggering even after the Holy Father says in the plainest words imaginable what the reason for his abdication is, there are those simply unable to deal with brutally straight facts.
3. Let us now assume (which we should not do, unless we want to take the Blessed Virgin as hostage for everything we cannot explain or approve) for a moment that the Blessed Virgin really appeared to the Holy Father requesting that he steps down: would this not be an extremely offensive statement towards the Holy Father? In this constellation, it is clear Pope Benedict is both completely useless and dangerously stubborn, to the extent that no less than an apparition of the Blessed Virgin becomes necessary to move him to do the right thing. It is also – always if you ask me – doubly insulting, because it also presupposes the Pope is utterly unable to see the reality around him and make important decisions for himself.
4. The Pope is almost 86; had a number of bypass surgical operations; is obviously becoming more and more frail, and has been for a while. It is not clear to me why Heaven should feel the need of anything so extreme as a Marian apparition to, erm, well, terminate his employment contract in the usual manner.
Summa summarum, it seems to me at times Catholics are more than a bit carried away, to the point of ever theorising Marian apparitions no interested party has mentioned or even hinted at.
Personally, I would suggest a more robustly realistic approach, based on the simple reality that an indecisive Pope has recognised he is not fit to lead the Church in these turbulent and utterly disturbing times. Once again, we should admire his honesty and courage rather than recur to supernatural events to explain what we do not approve.
A Pope can abdicate.
Get over it.
From the wonder of the Catholic blogosphere, Rorate Caeli, we are now informed of some details of the latest exchange between the Vatican and the Society.
The first piece of information is that the letter was sent on the 8 January. This is more than one month before the surprise announcement of the Holy Father’s abdication. Clearly, at that time no one had any idea of what was about to happen. Already this makes the document almost as useful as a broken fork.
The second is that the letter seems to have offered the immediate erection of a Personal Prelature in case of SSPX’s agreement.
We also knew already that the letter contained a big “… or else” in case the SSPX rejects the proposal.
What, I think, we can infer from all this is that the CDF addressed all members of the SSPX saying ” if the Society as such does not accept our proposal, those of you who defect individually can have their own Personal Prelature on the spot, on the very 22 February”. This is not explicitly said, but the offer of a Personal Prelature together with an address to every individual priest makes it clear enough to these eyes what the Vatican intention is.
Truly, they don’t get it.
Why on earth SSPX priests should now decide to leave en masse is beyond me. It is as if the Vatican believed they were all sleeping and now, magically awakening in 2013, would discover with terror that they might be excommunicated, and find the thought unbearable.
Certainly, the one of other will always leave every now and then; it is in the logic of human nature. But it is the idea that suddenly a big number of SSPX would say “let’s do what Archbishop Mueller says, he is so good to us and so orthodox!…” that I find hilarious.
The men at the Vatican do not get a simple concept: every member of the SSPX is there for a reason, the fruit of very careful deliberation. They aren’t children ready to change their mind because uncle Müller offers them a candy.
The second piece of information is a bit more intriguing.
The reasons why Father Barthe goes to the point of imagining the creation of an Ordinariate on the very 22 February are not clear to me, but it does not seem probable a unilateral offer of the Holy Father (I mean here, without asking for any concession) is in the cards, or would even be wise.
We must reflect that every last-minute concession of the Pope would be seen as a further sign of weakness, as if he had waited for the last days in order to dodge the massive flak that would have followed an earlier announcement. In addition, we must consider the problems caused by the reconciliation would transfer to his successor in its entirety, again making him look like someone ready and willing to throw a hot potato in his successor’ hands; with the possible result that his successor, not entirely pleased at he proceedings, decides to revoke every concession made. Moreover, the SSPX is so organised that every proposal of reconciliation must be approved by the majority of their own members. It isn’t going to happen in six days, and the matter would therefore only have a sense if it is a unilateral recognition without any condition. Not very realistic, I would say.
There will be, therefore, no reconciliation on the 22nd and whilst I would be overjoyed at the news I do not think this kind of reverie leads to anything.
The SSPX is in a strong position, and can wait the conclave with confidence that the next Pope will be smart enough to understand the SSPX is not only the past but, emphatically, the future of the Church.
We shall see.
Oh Lord, please give us a strong Pope.
I will not beat around the bush: I was shocked at reading the latest intervention of the Holy Father concerning what was wrong with Vatican II. His analysis boils down to the concept that whilst Vatican II was wholesome in itself, it was… the Press who disfigured it, and the planet promptly followed.
By reading this, after the first reaction of shock a second one came, and I was reminded of the wonderful scene in Blues Brothers where John Belushi explains to the angry woman he had left alone at the altar why he was not able to show up. In an astonishing piece of comedy, he tries everything from not having fuel to the dry cleaners, to his mother’s funeral, to flooding, earthquake, and the unforgettable locusts…
And seriously, this latest excuse for Vatican II would be as funny as John Belushi’s ones, if the immense importance of Church matters would not make of this a really tragic exercise in escape from reality and flight from responsibility.
The Holy Father’s excuse is, of course, not more credible than John Belushi’s ones, and he owes it to his position that his rather naive attempt at justifying the huge cracks in the edifice of Vatican II with external interventions does not cause the explosion of laughter caused by John Belushi’s locusts.
I have seldom seen a Western man with a public position so entrenched in denial as the Holy Father in this intervention. The attitude he shows reminds one of old Politburo members in the years of rapid decomposition of Communism, or of the ability to correctly analyse reality of the North Korean government.
Try to imagine any other leader of a big organisation – like Coca-Cola, or Boeing, or Fiat – saying to his stakeholders “things have gone badly in the last fifty years because the press has misrepresented what we do” and, so to speak, count the minutes until he is kicked out.
What is happening within the Vatican truly gives you the full scale of the self-delusion and – as I have pointed out often in the past – sheer incompetence that has been reigning undisturbed within the Vatican this past fifty years; and one must truly stun, and looks heavenwards in gratitude, at the greatness of the Church and the wonderful protection accorded to her by the Holy Ghost, if the tragic behaviour of the last decades at all levels (starting from the Popes, and trickling down; then we must never forget the fish always stinks from the head) has not caused Her complete destruction, which by any other organisation would most certainly have been the case.
I have sometimes thought in the past that the Conciliar Popes should have taken the name Pollyanna I (Pope Roncalli) to Pollyanna V (Pope Ratzinger), such is the sheer naïveté showed by all of them concerning the direction things were taking. But one can say that at least Pope John XXIII died before having the possibility of seeing the consequences of what he had put in motion; that Paul VI was at least painfully aware that the cause of the problems was within the Church, not outside of Her; that Pope John Paul I did not have the time to tackle the problems (and if you read “Iota Unum” you’ll realise he might have been a very energetic Pope and a man of action if he had lived); and that even John Paul II never tried to place the blame on the press, the lack of money to grab a taxi, or the locusts…
Pope Benedict’s intervention was clearly meant to leave some kind of explanation or justification for fifty disastrous post Vatican II years, and in this indirectly defend his pontificate; but frankly, he has made things worse, and has shown once again such an inability to face reality that one wonders whether the allegedly so high intelligence of this Pontiff (a man apparently able to have a great strategic plan for the next fifty years, but unable to select the right collaborators – down to his very butler – today, or to grasp simple concepts like the one that he is supposed to be in charge and no one else) was not rather overvalued the whole time.
What stands in front of us is a good, well-intentioned, but rather deluded old man in a state of complete denial concerning several decades of Church history – and, by reflection, his own papacy -; unable to even see the huge elephant in his own room, and eager to the last to say “it wasn’t our fault”. I have already written and repeat today that I am absolutely persuaded of his good intentions and love for the Church. But it is very clear to me he wasn’t right for the Papacy, and his being tarnished with Vatican II, of which he was one of the last surviving protagonists, prevents him from seeing clearly the devastation to which he has contributed.
I have more than a suspicion that the following generations will see Pope Benedict as a Paul VI plus Summorum Pontificum. After his last utterances, I am unable to see how he will be able to escape this destiny.
Important as Summorum Pontificum was, I think it is fair to say this papacy was another waste of time for the Church, whilst the Western world burns.
Please Lord, give Pope Benedict a serene and prayerful time in his courageous retirement, and give us – unworthy as we are – a Pope willing to see the devastations of Vatican II, correct them with energy, and start the fight we need to see now if we want to avoid Christianity wiped out of Europe, and perhaps North America, in the next generation.
One never ceases to be amazed at how incompetent journalists are, and how ready to invent “trends” and “epochal changes” existing only in their desperate need to have an article ready by the deadline.
This time, the German FAZ has the honour of a special mention. From the fact that one Pope has resigned they deduct that Pope Benedict’s gesture has now changed the Papacy forever. They see a time-Papacy now, and they reason that if one Pope resigns, then a loud cry will rise for his successors to do the same whenever they are criticised; as if we were talking here of a Bundespraesident (they tend to resign a lot lately, I am told).
What these people do not understand is that a Pope is a bit different from any other Head of State or Government; that he is expected to resign only in the presence of very valid and grave reasons, so much so that the practice was always extremely rare. They also do not know (because of sheer ignorance of history, and things Catholic) that the resignation of a Pope is contemplated far more often than it is effectively put in place.
Pius XII signed a letter of resignation, to be made public if the Germans had taken him prisoner; the same Pope thought of resigning when it became clear to him his illness was getting in the way of his office, and probably renounced to the idea when it became clear he did not have many years anyway. John Paul II was rumoured to have signed a similar letter, to be taken out of the drawer if his illness had become too incapacitating for him to understand it is the time to resign; and Pope Benedict himself had never made a mystery of the fact that with him the JP II’s situation would have not been allowed to occur.
What happened on the 11 February is therefore, if out of the ordinary in the usual course of things, not really extraordinary. Rather, it is like Chelsea taking two goals in three or four minutes. Very rare indeed, but it’s all in a football game.
The elementary logic of all this is more than a journalist can muster; epochal changes must be evoked, the Papacy must receive a new face, history must now have taken a new and unexpected turn. What shallowness, and what absence of proper historical perspective.
As if there was anything on the hearth that a FAZ journalist has seen, and the Church hasn’t.
The sudden resignation of Pope Benedict has a positive side effect that I thought I would not leave uncommented: the freezing of the beatification of Vatican II via Paul VI and John Paul I. This very questionable plan would clearly have been tantamount to a desperate last attempt to reinvigorate Vatican II. Pope Benedict, who was unwise enough to give the plan the green light, was wise enough not to carry it out before stepping down.
The beatification of the two former Popes – and with them, de facto and certainly in the intentions of the Vatican, of an entire generation of disgraceful Catholicism, as Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II are already beatified - – is now officially on ice, hopefully forever.
Pope Benedict’s successor will, though, find two highly “charged” beatifications baked almost to perfection, and his decision whether to serve the unsavoury dish to the Church or to let the matter die quietly will be a useful indication of what his plan for his pontificate are.
For the moment, I am glad this madness will not take place.
And so the SSPX should be, one is informed, scared of the new Pope crushing them, and should have accepted the poisoned bread offered to them by a, erm, rather scheming Pope.
Should they? Really? I am not persuaded at all. Let us see why.
Broadly speaking, the new Pope can only be one of three:
1) a modernist like Schoenborn.
2) a so-so, V-II nuChurch Pope like, well, all of them since Pope Roncalli.
3) A traditionalist Pope.
If 1) happens, you’ll see an explosion of sedevacantism, and as a result of the prestige and position of the SSPX who, whilst not being sedevacantists, are in clear opposition to the antics of nuChurch. Whatever this new Pope may order to them, the Society will certainly apply the blessed “first rule of the Italian army”: gli ordini sbagliati non si eseguono, “wrong orders are not carried out”.
I can, in fact, not imagine anything more promising for the growth of the Society than an utterly disgraceful Pope. Please reflect the likes of the FSSP would all be silenced in no time, and told they are lucky if they can keep the Tridentine Mass, and the Society would soon remain, to all intents and purposes, the only traditionalist shop in town.
The SSPX would then be seen as the last and only bastion of orthodoxy, and rightly so. They have the people, they have the money, they have the faith and the determination. Depend on that, they won’t take stupid orders by any stupid Schoenborn, Pope or no Pope. Amen.
2) So-so Popes can bark – with great effort – but they can’t bite. Therefore, your typical V II Pope would engage in endless “dialogue” without ever coming to any conclusion, which is why they engage in “dialogue” in the first place (besides trying to split the Society). There would be a gesture here and its contrary there, a Bux here and a Mueller there (well, not really; the man will hopefully be gone for good soon); but in the end, nothing would happen.
“You must accept V II”, the Vatican would say. “You must wake up and repent”, the SSPX would answer. Not the stuff of agreements, and it is probably good so as long as this situation persists.
3) If we are blessed by a traditionalist Pope (an event we as Catholics have by far not deserved), then the problem would solve itself by itself. We’d soon have the SSPX in full communion and – in time – Fellay as Cardinal ( I have joked about that in another post, but in this constellation I can’t see any other outcome). Case 3) is not a problem, but the end of all problems, and is therefore not worth discussing much.
What can, then, an hypothetical new and angry Pope do against the Society? A fat nothing, is the answer. The Society exists because the Papacy is in crisis. They will not do the Pope’s bidding when the papacy is even more in crisis than it has been in the times of Paul VI.
On the contrary, it seems to me that the decision of the Pope to go away is in fact a vindication of the SSPX policy. He will soon be gone, and the SSPX is still there. With Benedict, Mueller will soon go (not immediately, probably; the successor will allow him a face-saving time before he picks his own man). If there had been a (bad) agreement, how long had it lasted? Months? If the new pope is bad, than the SSPX was even more right in not wanting lazy compromises, and insisting on guarantees of freedom of criticism beside operational autonomy.
If you are smart, you talk with the Vatican but you don’t trust your own existence to their mercy. Bishop Fellay is very smart, and every agreement would have to be approved by the majority of the SSPX priests, so expect no surprises from there.
So: Pope Benedict will soon be gone. Archbishop Mueller will follow him soon after. The SSPX is still there, as solid as a rock, growing like a mushroom colony, and not scared of anything but lazy compromises.
I wonder who won?
The Pope has, so to speak, just about finished to resign, and already you read on the Press the most unbelievably uninformed articles and commentaries. My favourite up to now is the one of the perverts calling themselves “Catholics” who see in Pope Benedict’s resignation a hope for a Pope who will “embrace” their lifestyle. They dream (or blather about to make themselves important; fags & co. are always primadonnas) of a Pope starting a III Vatican Council to tell them they are spot on on pretty much everything, and the Church has been so naughty from Jesus down.
I am certainly very scared of the possibility of a mickey mouse Cardinal like Schoenborn becoming Pope (don’t bet your pint), but these people really don’t know what they are thinking. They don’t know what they’re writing, either (“ecumenicalism”. I kid you not), but they manage to be angered at the Church’s insistence on “purity”.
The pope should, therefore, embrace filth. Keep dreaming.
So these people can’t write and can’t think, but I am sure they know a lot of things we can’t even imagine, so they must think they are fine on the “knowledge” issue.
Sorry, no link. They’d feel important at counting your clicks.
Well, then, dreaming for dreaming, let us see what I would want my dream Pope to do….
He would declare the V II experiment officially failed; announce a re-writing of all V II documents, which (the old ones) are with immediate effect not to be used for pastoral purposes anymore; announce a gradual demolition of all V II innovations, from the Novus Ordo (obviously) to the bishops’ conferences, from the altar girls to the parish councils (or how on earth are called), from communion in the hand and/or standing to the V II-induced revisions of the rules of religious orders. Then I would very much like for him to proceed to a purge of Stalinian proportions among the Cardinal first, followed by the archbishops and bishops, all given the strictest warnings that thy are responsible for the behaviour of their priests, and slacking will be punished without fail or delay.
All the clergy (priests, bishops, cardinals, deacons; not Hans Kueng, though, because he will be already defrocked) would obviously have to take the Oath of Allegiance, which for the Cardinals and most important Archbishops would be recorded and put on the Vatican channel o YouTube, so that the faithful can think “look, let me see how my Bishop gives the Oath”. Obviously, Cardinal Archbishop Fellay would proudly have his own oath online too. The priests and other bishops would of course have it put on the parish/diocesan website, because it should not be said my dream Pope isn’t very modern and, well, aggiornato.
What next? Well, stupid names should be rethought. For example, “Holy Inquisition” would be a brilliant name for the most important department, now led from Cardinal Fellay (first case: Father Mueller, the former Archbishop); “confession” sounds so much better than “reconciliation”, and “last rites” is actually far more appropriate than the way they call it now, and distribute around like M&Ms (how is that? Has to do with anointing…).
I am sure one can think of many other useful measures, but my ideal Pope would have a slogan he applies to all of them: WDPPD? This means “What did Pope Pacelli do?”. Did he want altar rails? Altar rails it is! Was he in favour of Capital punishment? Bring it on! Did he want three hours of fasting before communion? Three hours for us, please!
A capital chap, my ideal Pope.
Not sure the above mentioned fags would like him much, though.
If you are sensitive about the Pope, stop reading now. If you continue, consider that I will, most certainly, not publish your comment.
The surprise decision of the Holy Father to step down is only a few hours old, but I am sure you have already read all the sugary stuff your liver can muster.
You are, I hope, not a reader of this blog because you want to read the sugary stuff. If you are, you will be disappointed; but frankly, you haven’t been paying much attention, either.
I have waited before starting to write this post, and have not “stopped” a blog post – and a very bitter one – written two days ago, and scheduled for this evening. I haven’t, because I do not think that simple facts of life change because of our emotional reactions to historical – and today was truly historical – events.
Again: if you are the sensitive type, stop now. If you continue, it’s your problem. Chiaro?
I am fully persuaded Pope Benedict was (allow me the past here) a deeply kind man, intentioned to do good, and sincerely loving the Church. The fact that he was not “telegenic” and “media effective” as his predecessor made it more endearing to me. He did not “kiss the earth”, did not indulge as often in populist gestures, did not spend half of his time traveling like a mad gipsy, or a candidate to the American Presidency. Even in his being less communicative, and more difficult to “sell”, he was more authentic to my eyes than his predecessor. He did not have a beautiful smile, and yet he dared to smile. He knew he wasn’t the darling of the masses, and wasn’t really bothered. He was also, as a Pope, generally more intellectually aware, and less prone to trust the wrong people blindly.
Still, he was a Pope with a deep, irreparable construction mistake: he was a product of the Second Vatican Council.
Like all his predecessors from John XXIII on, he never reigned, he merely presided. Like all of them, he made the bidding of the local Church hierarchies, not really caring of how badly they represented the ideas that he, as the Vicar of Christ, had the duty to defend. Like all of them, he was that kind of person no one in his entourage really fears or really respects. He was the equivalent of those weak teachers we all remember from school: good and well-intentioned chaps, for sure; but in the end, just unable to do their job properly.
He seemed to see his role as the man who is saddened when things go wrong, rather than the man who is responsible to care that things go right. He saw a string of his German colleagues abandon themselves to the most ludicrous heresies (yours truly has reported at times; many other times his liver did not allow him to touch the subject); he saw his Archbishops, like Vincent “Quisling” Nichols, defend “civil partnerships” without punishment. Oh wait, he did not make Nichols Cardinal! This must have been his idea of punishment.
He made people like this one bishops, and for one who comes to such dubious honors there are many who make less an ass of themselves, but aren’t really better. He made another, even more unspeakable tool of Satan like this one a Cardinal. He let this man confuse Catholics without uttering a word to rebuke him (only one of the very many examples you can find on this blog), and lastly, he let this man – an extremely fresh appointment – attempt the demolition of the Catholic culture remained in Italy on occasion of his very first speech in his new position. Again, there are extremely numerous episodes, I merely mention those who are most recent or most striking.
And how could one forget the relentless work of fostering and protection of heresy in Austria tirelessly promoted by this man? How could one forget that the Pontiff allowed his own Kumpeln to get away with simony? How can one ignore that those belonging to his personal circle of friends and proteges (not only, as mentioned, this one, but even this one) were allowed to confuse Catholics at every step without being bothered in the least?
True, this Pope was less naive than his predecessor; but as for protection of his own favourites he wasn’t shy, either. Cardinal Schoenborn, once his favourite students, allowed total freedom of heresy, from laser masses to Medjugorje to the protection of heretics. Mueller, his text editor, put on the fast lane to archbishop and fox guarding the hen-house; Gaenswein, his aide, made a bishop weeks before resigning.
Is it a surprise that he was so little respected, and so little feared, that even his own butler – a sincere and truthful man, apparently, if very naive himself - thought it necessary to defend the Pope from …. himself? Can you imagine even Paul VI treated with so little esteem?
Certainly, the Holy Father did something good. Certainly, he also made some good bishops’ appointments (I like Egan a lot, talking of a recent one who concern me from near). But really, one had the impression the man doesn’t really know what he is doing, he merely does what is told and comes back to his books.
Oh, his books. This was the first Pope I know of who not only loves theology, but keeps seeing himself as a theologian after he became Pope, and judging from his work almost a full-time one. His production since ascending to the Papacy is impressive. Did he really take his job seriously, one wonders? Was he Pope mit Leib und Seele, or did he consider the papacy an unpleasant chore, taking refuge in his beloved theology as soon as he could? But whilst he wrote his books, devoting to them consistent and precious energies – particularly at his age – that should have been employed in … being Pope (doing things like paying attention to whom you appoint as bishop, for example; or taking the time to rein in your unruly Cardinals; or purging a couple of religious orders among the very worst; or other unpleasant things like that) his own clergy devastated the body of Christ in France, in Spain, in England, recently even in Italy. He was, literally, writing whilst Rome burns.
He will, though, be remembered – hopefully for him – chiefly for Summorum Pontificum; which, really, not only defined but epitomised his papacy. Afraid of his own courage, or simply afraid of being Pope, or perhaps never wanting Summorum Pontificum to be really effective in the first place – which I suspect – he started the work and forgot to implement it, a bit like those people so intent in imagining their own future company they never start one. It is now five and a half years and the implementation of Summorum Pontificum is a joke if we want to be gentle, and stable or going backwards in the last two-three years. His own bishops weren’t impressed in the least at the measure, and started to boycott it – and him – with a zeal one wish they would put in the defense of Catholic values. This they did either because they got signals the Pope wasn’t interested in the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, or because they just didn’t care what the Pope did or wanted; see the above mentioned teacher.
If your own butler doesn’t respect or fear you, how will your own archbishops?
The archbishops knew their “client”, and profited from his weakness, indecisiveness and sheer hierarchical incompetence – you can say of Pope Benedict what you want, but he wasn’t born a leader of men – for all it was worth. When – in a rare gust of courage – the Holy Father dared to appoint Monsignor Wagner as bishop (auxiliary, if memory serves) of Linz, the Austrian church revolted. Promptly, the Pope caved in. At that point, it was clear who is (not) in power.
I will, today, renounce to describe you some less savoury aspects of the Pope’s personality; aspects about which I have written, but do not think it appropriate to write today. It has to do, mostly, with the way the SSPX was treated, but again I will not write about this today.
The kindest thing that can be said of Pope Benedict is that he is a kind, gentle man of studies, who failed – yes, failed, and failed badly; look around you, with homosexuals advancing everywhere under his watch, and nothing near the hell on earth he should be making for every elected politician – when he had to really rule people, really take decisions, and run a complex organisation like the Church. He could simply not do it, and preferred to take refuge in his books and studies instead, hoping to be an halfway functioning “Vatican II” Pope and do what he could with the character and inclination God had given him. It didn’t work out.
But I really do not think this is the whole truth. The whole truth is that Benedict has failed because he is a Pope of Vatican II, and was destined to fail like all the Popes of Vatican II were destined, are destined, and always will be destined to fail.
In the simple world I live in, a papacy is not measured by the number of books one has written; or by the increase in Kirchensteuer-money; or by the crowds waiting for one at the airport (look at the “triumphal” England visit; two years later we are talking of so-called same-sex marriage, and most Catholics just don’t give a fig). The way I see it, a papacy is measured by the number of brave priests and bishops thundering against the perversions and madness of our times; by the number of Cardinals bravely promoting the faith in the face of open dissent, hostility, hatred, or loss of income; by the number of vocations, the activity in the seminaries, the assertiveness of religious orders truly devoted to Christ, and the constant defiance of secular thinking at all levels.
Nothing of this, I am afraid to say, was to be seen during Pope Benedict’s pontificate. Like his predecessors, meowing was the order of the day, whilst rapacious bishops and cardinals continued to rape the Bride of Christ every day. All this has happened under his watch, and of all this he is responsible. Then if one is in charge, he is also responsible.
And here I come to the last aspect, in which I pay to this Pope a last compliment among the not many I have paid him from this minuscule blog.
All the Popes of Vatican II are failures – bar JP I of course; probably for lack of time – but Pope Benedict has the immense merit of being the first one who has realised it and has drawn the consequences.
Obviously, he saw the great offensive Satan is launching all over the Western world. Obviously, he saw his sheer inadequacy at being a match for such an attack. Perhaps, incidents like the one with Paglia – a man of colossal incompetence and sheer stupidity and lack of faith, appointed by him, and mocked by the entire thinking Catholic planet at his very first public utterance in his new role – has persuaded him that he really wasn’t even able to make mediocre choices anymore, and from now on he would have become worse and worse in his appointments as his ability to select the right (erm, less wrong) people weakens with age.
The decision the Pope has made public today is – with Summorum Pontificum – the most important and most beautiful of his career, and I have frankly – and again, with the exception of Summorum Pontificum – never liked him as I like him today, or prayed for the health of his soul like I did today, because it takes an awful lot of guts to have the courage to admit one can’t do the job; particularly then, when one is the kind of person who was never noticed for his guts. I so wish Paul VI had done the same, and I am sure many of my readers would today think so much more of him if he had done so.
I do not think one serves the Church by serving on your plate a ton of molasses on a day like this. If you think so you have wasted your time, and you are reading the wrong blog.
We are living our Dunkirk, and we cannot go on with the Neville Chamberlains of this world, no matter how well-intentioned or how much fond of writing they are.
We need a Churchill now, and we need it fast.
Dear Lord, please, please give us a strong Pope.