SSPX, Vatican, Integrity
What would you think of a, say, Prime Minister who first indicates a draft of agreement is fine, and then eats his words and decides on second thought it is better to back pedal?
What would you think of a Prime Minister who surrounds himself with people of such falseness as to – in case; this is the milder hypothesis for the Prime Minister – lie to negotiation counterparts concerning the PM’s agreement with the draft document?
If the Prime Minister were surrounded by people without scruples, duplicitous and scheming, would you not consider the Prime Minister responsible for the people he selects to be near him?
If the Prime Minister surrounds himself with people of evidently manipulative character – Alastair Campbell comes to mind – would you not think that said Mr Campbell is there because he is exactly the kind of person the Prime Minister wants in that position?
When Blair decided to wage war in Iraq, how many of those critical with this decision blamed Gordon Brown for it? How many of those in favour praised the same Brown for it?
When a man promises to a woman to marry her, and then eats his word because he didn’t like the reaction of some relatives of his – perhaps important, no doubt; but none of them the bridegroom – what do decent people think of such a man? Do they think that bad “wolves” made him change his mind? Or do they think that a man is only as good as his word, and a man who does not keep his word is not a decent man?
Here the matter is very simple:
a) The Holy Father ate his word; or
b) The Holy Father surrounds himself – willingly, mind; and full knowing what he does – with people who do not hesitate to lie and to spend his own name and personal integrity to reach some objective of theirs: for example, in order to achieve a general mobilisation of the German clergy so as to scare the – in himself not truly difficult to scare – Pope.
Unless of course you persuade me that Pope Benedict can work with the likes of Bertone, Levada & Co. for decades without knowing them, in which – absurd – case you are telling me that he should not have been made parish priest, let alone Pope.
The falseness and duplicity of what has happened in the Vatican in the last weeks is beyond contempt, because here something much worse was done than simply saying “no” to the SSPX. In this case, the SSPX was simply used – either by the Holy Father, or by the likes of Gaenswein under the supervision and responsibility of the Holy Father – to proceed to the mobilisation of the V II crowd. The saddened words of Bishop Fellay about the SSPX being used like a ping-pong ball seem to me to clearly refer to this.
Let me tell you this once again, because I get slightly nervous when I read that suddenly Cardinal Levada should be the culprit and the Pontiff, who obviously lives on Mars, should be whither than snow: Levada is not the Pope. Benedict XVI is the Pope. The Pope is in charge. He is answerable for what he does and for what his people do. If Gaenswein has lied, he is responsible for having Gaenswein in his role. If Levada was duplicitous, he is responsible for having Levada in his role. If “wolves” are roaming around, he is responsible for everyone of them, because they are there on his decision and under his responsibility.
Make no mistake, this blunder is 100% Pope Benedict’s responsibility, and casts a huge shadow on his personal integrity in the worst of cases, and on his leadership and ability to work as a Pope in the best one.
In case, then, you should think a Pope would, oh, never ever do such things, think again: the leak is still very fresh of how Pope Benedict authorised the scandalous neo-catechumenal liturgy and simply let Cardinal Burke in the dark. Just like that. This is not only poor leadership, this justifies doubts about one’s personal integrity, and it might be useful to open one’s eyes and see reality as it is instead of chasing imaginary “wolves” accurately selected by the Pontiff across several decades to do exactly…. the contrary of what he wants.
Then the “Levada did it ” argument is preposterous, because by wanting to discharge him it simply indicts the Pontiff in the most brutal of ways. If you surround yourself with wolves all your life, can you say you are better than them? Did the Pontiff think these dogs would have no fleas? For an entire lifetime? Please.
Once again: Cardinal Levada is not in charge. The Pope is. Levada can only propose, but he cannot decide. If the Pope has come to the point that his Cardinals do whatever they please without his having the force to react, he should resign at once for the good of the Church and of his own soul. But we all know that this is simply not the case; and that frail as he is, he is certainly not an old man in his dotage.
The problem I see with the Pontiff is, very bluntly stated, one of lack of integrity. He lacks integrity if he lies (let’s hope not; but let us not be Pollyanna here); if not, he lacks integrity because he chooses collaborators who evidently lack integrity; and he certainly lacks integrity if he does not have the basic decency of sticking to his own word, as can be expected by every man who think his word has value.
“Let your yea be yea and your nay, nay” seem words unheard of in nowadays’ Vatican, from the Pope down. Instead, playing with the SSPX in this shameful way – in order to divide them, or to provoke a reaction from the other side – seems to be perfectly legitimate. For shame.
Then we are told the Pope is “saddened” that there are leaks, and plots, and subterranean schemes. Of course there are, if this is the mentality he promotes and selects! Of curse there are, if this is the forma mentis he wants in the people surrounding him! The Pontiff made this bed in its entirety, but now he is saddened he has to lie in it! This is about the same as Obama complaining his team is made of money-squandering, incompetent, atheist nincompoops; with the difference that Obama has far less liberty in choosing his people than the Pope.
We all have seen in the past how the one or other Pope disgraced his Office and the Church. In recent times, Pope John Paul II – who managed to tamper with the Crusades, be scolded live by “rock stars” and “nuns”, and kiss the Koran – comes to mind; but the old Pope was, at least on some of these occasions, probably not really there with his head anymore, and one wonders to what extent he can be blamed.
I don’t think the same can be said of the present Pontiff. Whatever has happened here, it has happened during many weeks of careful plotting. Whatever deception was staged here, it was made in cold blood and with utter disregard for the feelings of thousands of devoted Catholics, and with the arrogance of those who think to them everything is allowed.
Let us pray for the Pope, recruiter of wolves; that he may see the error of his ways and make a better use of the time left to him.