Wealth, Influence, Pope.

There are concerns around the internet that wealthy people would try to influence the Pope concerning the episcopal appointments, and more in general. Letters are written and are, through apposite channels – like other influential, but progressive churchmen – put to the personal attention of the Pope.

I am not surprised, but cannot share the dismay.

If wealthy traditionalist Catholics would try to inform the Pope of their concerns in the appointment of bishops, I am sure none of us would have anything to say against it. I am, in fact, rather sure wealthy traditionalist Catholics do it already,  nor do I think this attempt to influence the Pope can be seen as anything else than a good deed, if made in good faith.

In addition, it is often said – particularly around the blogosphere – that the Pope is “isolated” and at the mercy of the  elusive “wolves” apparently circling around him. It is, therefore, surprising how the attempt to jump the “wolves” and communicate directly with the Holy Father – be it made from traditionalists or “progressive” Catholics – should be seen in a negative light.

As we have all too clearly seen in the last weeks, the Pope does not live in a bubble and there would be much to be afraid of if he did. He will be unavoidably – and rightfully – exposed to a continuous stream of information coming from people who want to influence him for the most various – some commendable, some less so – reasons. The question is in my eyes not whether the Pope is exposed to such an influence – which he is – but whether he will pursue a line of coherent and logical conduct according to the tone he has decided he will give to his Papacy, or will be led to make one concession here and another there to try to make everyone happy and avoid controversy; with the usual result that he will make no one happy, and will foster controversy.

What in my eyes remains the most tragic example of this certainly wavering pontificate – a pontificate with two faces to such an extent, that “wolves” must be invented to justify the activity of the “progressive” Pope, whilst the “conservative” actions are seen as coming from the “authentic” Pope – is the episode of Gerhard Maria Wagner, the appointed auxiliary bishop of Linz, an appointment to which the Pope renounced after the reaction of the Church hierarchy in Austria and the predictable media uproar. The signal was here sent in the most evident of manners, that the Pope was clearly willing to be influenced and ready to change his mind whenever the price of keeping it would be a prolonged controversy.

The problem is not in those who write letters. The problem is, in case, in those who receive them.


Posted on June 9, 2012, in Catholicism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Wealth, Influence, Pope..

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