Rapping Like Paul
Beautiful words from Pope Francis yesterday, talking in front of representatives of nuns from the entire planet. Citing Paul VI, the Holy Father stressed the absurdity of loving Christ without loving the Church, or in any way feel the two as separated. A mistake, I venture to add, that if it is bad enough in a Protestant who has inherited this delusion, is not pardonable in a nun who to this very Church willingly chose to pay obedience.
Still, I can't avoid being alarmed. The frequency with which the Pontiff mentions Paul VI makes it not unrealistic that he picked this very Pope as the model to be followed in the shaping of his papacy. The problem with that is that whilst Pope Paul VI was never bad at talking, he was pretty much of an absentee Pope when it was about acting. From the Liberation Theologians in South America to the mad nuns in North America, and from the altar girls in Germany to the Dutch Schism in the Netherlands, Paul VI was such a spectacular disaster that one wonders whether he could have done any worse if he had wanted to.
The Pope we have now has not openly indicated that he intends to model his papacy on Paul VI's, but his willingness to talk a lot in abstract whilst steering well clear of concrete conflicts happening in many countries of the West does indicate a Papacy in Montini style: when I have encouraged you to behave properly, I have done enough. Add to this his frequent references to his being (merely, as it is to be interpreted) the “bishop of Rome” and you have the picture.
This is recipe for a replay of the troubles of Paul VI's disastrous pontificate, and already the Germans play with “deaconesses”, utterly unchallenged at least in public, and thus allowed to confuse millions of Catholics.
Pope Francis went to pray in front of the tomb of St. Pius X (yours truly reported).
Up to now, it doesn't seem he was inspired much.