The morning after, and conservative Catholics are trying to come to terms with what has happened. I have been around on the Internet, and I see a despondency almost pleased of itself. “We are doomed!”; “Lord, have mercy!” and similar expressions are very easy to be found. Do you want my take?
Get a grip.
The world has not ended, and it is not as if Schoenborn or Meisner had been made Pope. This Pope might be bad or very bad as the case may be (I have almost abandoned hope that he might be only mildly bad, though you never know), but he will not be the undoing of anything, least of all our Holy Mother Church.
The Church who survived Liberius and Benedict IX, John XXII and Alexander VI, Leo X and Paul VI will also survive Francis, no matter how bad or how long his pontificate. Countless souls may be lost, but we must see in this a deserved punishment for the folly of the past 50 years, a folly possibly far away from being terminated.
In the end, I dare to say my own salvation and the salvation of the ones I love is a more pressing need to me than the Cardinals electing the right Pope. Everyone reading this blog is either properly instructed himself or on its way to be it; perhaps on his way to conversion to the Faith, or to the Only Church. This is what counts most in our individual lives.
Be brave. Continue what you are doing. Try to pray more, or better, or both. Nurture yourself from the endless resources of traditional Catholicism now luckily available on the Internet, particularly for those able to read in English. No Pope Francis will ever be able to block your way to salvation, or to change a iota in the way you interact with your loved ones.
The Church – and the life of all of us – is a rich tapestry whose beauty is made of contrast. The folly of the past caused a re-awakening in so many souls; even out of a great tragedy like Vatican II, God can make good fruits. You, my dear reader, are probably one of them.
At my age, I must accept the possibility that I will die without seeing the return to liturgical and pastoral (real, not fake) sanity. So be it, then. I will endeavour to walk in faith all the days the Lord has allotted to me, knowing that if I manage to escape the worst – which I do hope I will – the problems of the Church will have been for me an incentive to think, and do, better; and the day I die, I hope to be able, wretched sinner as I am, to at least say the words: tradidi quod et accepi.
Strive to learn more. Take refuge in the wisdom of the ages. Resolve to improve your knowledge of sound Catholicism as the world around you drowns in easy sound bites who could have been said by the Pope, or John Lennon, or Bono. Never lose hope, and never lose faith.
Don’t despair. Pray more. Be brave.