Rio: Meet The Francis Lama
If you had any doubt the sober demeanour of Pope Benedict has left place to a personality cult in JP II-style, this World Fornication Day should not leave you any doubt.
The Bishop of Rome – now not the Holy Father anymore, but the Cool Uncle – is the superstar of an event in which emotion is sought for the sake of the emotion.
“Frenzied crowds” meet him in Brazil, and I wonder how many of them are simply moved by the desire to say “I was there”. The cars of the Papal motorcade moving in the middle of a crowd not kept in place by fences remind one of the Tour de France, with the ecstatic but hysteric crowds mad for their heroes, but not the faintest aim of spiritual advancement.
This is not, my dear readers, the product of a desire for spirituality. Spirituality does not lend itself well to this kind of exercise. For this reason, great Popes like Pius XII or great saints like Padre Pio have always avoided putting themselves on the front stage. Oceanic crowds are more suited to Mussolini.
In theory, one might have thought that the strategy is a promising one during JP II's pontificate, with a Pope clearly with superstar status attracting enormous crowds. But even then the shallowness of this following had to be evident to everyone with some critical thinking, and the progressive dechristianisation of the West after almost 27 years of “John Paul Superstar” should have persuaded most. It certainly persuaded Pope Benedict, a man far away from such excesses, and too intelligent to even consider them.
The clock has now been set back to the Eighties and Nineties: the new Francis Lama offers an even easier, even shallower, even easier to digest entertainment.
Like the Dalai Lama, Bishop Francis will dish cheap platitudes, rich in sugar and strictly vitamin-free. I wonder if he will mention hell or even purgatory once; I very much doubt he will even deal strongly with at least a couple of unpleasant issues, as John Paul II at least regudid.
Bishop Francis has neither John Paul's saintliness, nor Ratzinger's brain, least of all Pacelli's grit. He does not even dare to be unashamedly Pope, though you can be sure he is nobody's Fool. His marshmallow papacy will please the juvenile crowds and the shallow of spirit, and will deeply sadden all those who see Christianity sink all over the West whilst the Numero Uno cannot even admit a mistake, and accept the resignation of a scandalous sodomite. The New Humbleness is the Kool-aid for the masses thirsting for “celebrities” and easy feel-good kicks.
Bishop Francis will give them both, in spades, happily marching forwards with the cult of the Dalai Francis; perhaps thinking, like Wojtyla, that in this way he will help the work of evangelisation, and perhaps with less humble motives. But the more he goes on with his marshmallow pontificate, the more he will alienate those yearning for real nourishment. He reminds me more and more of Sandro Pertini, former Italian President; the idol of the stupid the country over, but always despised by the minority able to see beyond the smokescreen.
The Magical Humbleness Tour goes on.
Monsignor Ricca, for now, stays.