Pope Francis: Reflections After The Shock

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Firstly, let me say that I have prayed, and will pray, sincerely that the new Holy Father may be a good Pope, able to at least start the process of real renewal (that is, well: restoration) we were all hoping for.

Secondly, please do not expect from me the usual “ohh this is the maaaan the Holy Ghoooost has given ussss” rubbish. If you think so, you are probably in the wrong blog.

Thirdly, allow me to say this is a shock and, very probably, not good news at all. But again, we do not know so much, and at times the Pope acts differently than the Cardinal used to do.


Like probably everyone of you, I am trying to understand; understand who Pope Francis is, and why he was made Pope. There will be a long time for reflections, so today I will list what I know up to now and, at some point, try to sleep. There will be no bottle of Brunello, for sure. Hopefully not too much grappa, either…

So, what do we know about Pope Francis?

He is known for his “social engagement”; which, coming from Argentina, is ominous indeed. Bad.

He used to be the Jesuit provincial in Argentina. Bad.

He was considered “conservative” (as far as Jesuits go). Good.(Jesuits are not all bad after all, though very many are; and I mean really, really bad; this is, when they aren’t closeted homos, or deny Christ).

He was then sent to lead a seminary. Can’t imagine the seminary produced many Jesuits, and many of them good Christians. Bad.

He has ties with the rather right-wing (but V II right-wing, not Mundabor right-wing) Comunione e Liberazione, aka ciellini. Now not what they used to be, but certainly no socialist sissies. Good.  

The usual Allen describes him as “unwaveringly orthodox on matters of sexual morality, staunchly opposing abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception”. Unfortunately, coming from Allen this ain’t worth much, so we will have to wait and see. Half good.

He is certainly orthodox in matters of sexual perversion. Google and Wikipedia him, you’ll be surprised. Good. (The “gay mafia” within the Vatican might be facing very hard times).  

He travels with the bus, cooks his meals alone, doesn’t want to live in the archbishop’s palace. He has simply no respect for his role and the role of the Church. Bad.

He has chosen the name Francis, which might be hinting at a wave of populism like the Church has never seen. Bad.

He has been accused of complicity or silence during the Argentinian dictatorship. Well, at least not a dyed-in-the-wool revolutionary. Good.

He has obviously instructed Cardinal Tauran to cut the multi-language rubbish of Benedict’s election (“Liebe Brueder und Schwestern; Dear Brothers and Sisters…”) before the announcement and go directly to the “Annuntio vobis…”. Good. 

He has spoken of the Church as “presiding over the other churches”. No guts to say there is only one Church, and the usual V II wishy-washy words. Bad.

I had read days ago he has made a very good impression talking about the problems of the Curia. He is certainly seen as a good and effective administrator. Good.

He has been considered fit not by the absolute majority, but by two third of the Cardinals. Good (you see, I am clutching at straws now…).

He has given the impression of being extremely youthful for his 77 years (the way he talked, moved, gesticulated…). Good if he is good, bad if he is bad…

All in all, I have to say the new Holy Father exudes more than an unpleasant whiff of Vatican II. Bad. 

Dulcis in fundo, if you search “Bergoglio” on this blog you will find a single blog post, but a very complimentary one.  Once again, Bergoglio’s uncompromising stance on homosexuality is the trait which seems to be most evident. I am curious to see how the liberal press will salute a “friend of the poor” of this caliber…  


Those who have voted for Bergoglio will have to answer to God before all too long for what they have done; as I assume most of them do believe in God and know they will have to answer to Him, there might be some hope. I want to think a Pope elected with a high majority (apparently higher than Ratzinger’s) must have given elements of reassurance also to rather conservative elements among the cardinals, and given guarantees to be a safe pair of hands to tackle the problems of the Church. The Cardinal must have known better than us what they are going to get, and they did like it.

As to what has happened, we will probably know more in due time, but what I imagine now is that it was clear from the start there were not one, but two strong candidates: one almost certainly Scola, the other possibly Scherer. These candidates must have been both strong and clearly destined to neutralise each other, because the quest for a credible outsider started, and was concluded, so soon.

Bergoglio was probably seen as a surrogate Italian (100% Italian blood); a surrogate conservative (ties with C&L; strong on homos); a surrogate liberal (a Jesuit, for crying out loud! And a “let’s travel with the bus”, “oh look how modest he is” type); not a man of the Curia; a man who speaks Italian and knows Italians; actually, one who is culturally one of them; a man who at 77 gives perhaps more guarantees – or so his electors thought – of toning down “social justice” bollocks; a man who, by his strong dislike for homos, can clean up the Vatican all right, and no risk of picking the wrong one in this.

I have not read anything about him being in favour of “collegiality”, but I mistrust whomever is defined as “pastoral”, which to me reads “heretical” and “accommodating”. Schoenborn, whose mother will be pleased, is always described as “pastoral”.

If you ask me, Sandri and Schoenborn would have been much worse, Ouellet probably better (for us), Scola even better, others like Bagnasco probably never had a chance.

It would be interesting to know whether the Austro-German heretic Sturmtruppen pushed his candidature. By the Pontiff’s stance on homos, I very much doubt. He does look very un-German from here, at least for now.

And what about the SSPX? Frankly, I am relaxed about them. Pope Francis certainly does not seem a liturgical friend of theirs; but again in the end – and after all the posturing, the rhetoric, and the lies – neither was Ratzinger. If the new Pope wants to “play Mueller” on them, he’ll discover the SSPX men are tougher than Argentinian generals, and can destroy his credibility as a decent Pope. I doubt he would relish the experience, and I think he’ll be rather more prudent than opening a front he certainly doesn’t need.

As always, yours truly tries to be an optimist; which today is, admittedly, not entirely easy. Still, a vast number of Cardinals thought cardinal Bergoglio the right one. Unless they only did so in order for them to be left free to do whatever they please at home, there might be hope.

In the end, the much-vaunted Pope Benedict has given us Summorum Pontificum (good), a shameless charade on the SSPX (bad), an impressive series of wrong or disastrous episcopal appointments (bad), a rampaging homosexuality within the Vatican (bad), and in general the perfect portrait of roi fainéant (bad).

For this pontificate to be worse than the last one it will take some doing.


Posted on March 13, 2013, in Catholicism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Thanks for taking the time to reflect so thoroughly. I was earlier quite depressed after getting the scoop from Rorate. Your post brings up some good points to which my friends and I can drink tonight. Though perhaps not the champagne I would have bought for a Burke or Bagnasco. Let’s pray also for the “grassroots” traditionalism among my generation–perhaps we will be able to see a coronation in our lifetimes.

    • Thanks Caroline.
      We are all still digesting the news, but I doubt two thirds of the cardinals were on magic mushrooms. They must have seen a far more reassuring man in front of them than we can see looking for information about his past.

  2. i just got done with reading a story about the new Pope on another blog….one which I consider fairly traditional, though not overly so. the blog ran a quick story written by a traditional Catholic Argentinian journalist. Long story short, he says that pope Francis, at least while a cardinal, was an outright opponent of the traditional mass and of those priests who supported it. Also, he routinely celebrated religiously with those of other faiths and allowed those of other faiths use of his cathedral. I don’t know much about him right now…that article was the first concrete thing I actually read; not too promising to say the least.

    • I have read it too, and consider the site very good, though perhaps the fact he is an enemy of the traditional mass gives him a bad press by some also in matters where he has not deserved it.


  3. Mundabor,
    trouble is, he certainly was the “progressive” candidate, just as in 2005. Apparently, the extreme modernists had an outright two-thirds majority in the conclave and there was some limited in-fighting about which modernist to elect. There is no chance, any self-respecting even moderate conservative could have ever voted for Bergoglio knowing the kind of “liturgies” he likes to desecrate, sorry, celebrate.
    Regarding homosexuality, yes he issued a statement against it. So what? Even Woelki did so. Pervert O’Brien did so. Schönborn has spoken very eloquently about the sinfulness of homosexuality and how the church needs to oppose it. But the proof is in the pudding, and what did Bergoglio *do*? If he had done anything significant, he would not have been the obvious modernists’ dream candidate in 2005 (and today).

    • It still remains to be seen whether he was the modernist candidate, or managed to persuade more moderate elements (who might have been deceived, of course).

      I don’t buy the idea that two-thirds of the Cardinals are “extreme modernists” and no one has noticed. Benedict has not, on average, appointed worse people than John Paul II. People don’t change overnight.

      They must see in him something we don’t; and perhaps they’re wrong, of course.

      We shall see, as the next months will tell us what kind of Pope he wants to be.

      My fear is that this is an attempt to replicate JP II: popular with the media but weak with the local hierarchies; though he will be a better administrator, methinks.

      But again, early days. JP I picked the name “John Paul”, but few believe he wanted to continue their work rather than elegantly bury at least the worst of it.


  4. Mundabor,
    “My fear is that this is an attempt to replicate JP II:”
    This is my hope – the best-case-scenario. Maybe, possibly, he will abandon his ways and become a relatively moderate progressive like JPII. Maybe he will at least champion the pro-life cause, which he did not do in any convincing way as Archbishop.

    Also, my hope is that he might possibly prove totally incompetent and therefore ineffective.

    And no, I do not believe two thirds have been extreme modernists, either. But they did elect one. Why? Well, suppose the ominous report that Benedict decided to keep secret so that only the next Pope would be allowed to see it, will mysteriously vanish. Many Cardinals will be spared the danger of being exposed… No wonder they started to see Bergoglio as their dream candidate…. I do not know whether this is true, but there must be a reason why not even 38 Cardinals were willing to block Bergoglio, who was the modernists’ man in 2005, and, as you say, people don’t change overnight. Unless there is a reason behind their change.

    • … or unless they, and him, were so modernist in the first place.

      Yes, it might be the cardinals have received guarantees he will respect “collegiality” and leave them alone in their own feuds. But would not many others have done the same? What need there was of picking the wrong man?

      JP II’s theology is also very scary; it just went unobserved among all the traveling and earth-kissing…


  5. I know of a few Jesuits who offer the Mass of All ages,and most of them want a reform-of-the-reform of the Novus Ordo.

    • Interesting, Josemaria. They are not all bad indeed.

      Can you give some indication about their country, or countries, of religious formation and activity and about their age?



  6. Most of them are from the west. But One from my Country(Philippines) is in his early 60’s,he studied for the priesthood at the Loyola house of studies,he is the professor of Loyola school of theology(Kinda Modernist) and Parish Priest in a city north of Manila. One Drawback is that He was a Student of Anscar Chupungco(The Bugnini of Inculturation). His name is Fr. Timiteo Jose “Tim” Ofrasio.

    • I am very glad to hear both that most of them are from the West and that even among those studying with questionable professors at times sanity paves his way.

      Thank you so much!


  7. You’re welcome. I think Fr Kenneth Baker S.J a writer does the Vestus Ordo,James Schall also.

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