R.I.P. “Reading Francis Through Benedict”

One must appreciate the effort made by some to offer what at the beginning appeared a reasonable key of interpretation of the new successor of Peter.

The Church is inherently conservative, and Popes tend to be even more conservative. It was, therefore, absolutely understandable one would consider the novelties of the Bishop of Rome – which, one must admit, the man did not lose a second in showing – as the quirks of an old man, possibly meant to make him popular and possibly meant to make the Church, as a whole, fashionable; quirks that would, it was reasonable to assume, not alter anything substantial in the way the Church understands Herself, with merely the addition of poverty rhetoric, and a generous dollop of Peace 'n Justice.

Soon, though, it became clear this interpretation was more and more difficult to defend: when the refusal to wear the Mozzetta or the red shoes was followed by a serious liturgical abuse on Maundy Thursday, it was clear we are in front of a man who considers himself above Canon Law; a man unable to understand that even if he is the Bishop of Rome and can therefore change some of the rules, he is nevertheless bound by an elementary sense of propriety – and by the necessity to give a good example – to be the first one who abides by them as long as they are there. The oh so humble Bishop was already resembling an Oriental satrap.

With the weeks, it became worse. It was clear to everyone the current Bishop of Rome was insistently and ostentatiously distancing himself from his predecessor. The examples are too many to be all recollected here: from the choice of transport to the refusal to spend the summer in Castel Gandolfo, from the obsessive search for wheelchairs in front of the cameras to the dismal habit of uncontrolled off-the-cuff observations the world absolutely had to be informed about, this man showed more and more clearly he wants to be seen as entirely different from Benedict, totally focused on himself, and completely detached from everything his predecessors have done. Jorge was at this point already madly in love with Francis, and the entire planet had to be informed of the fact. This alone is as Un-Benedictine as can be, and every hope Francis might still be like Benedict – when he did not lose a single occasion to show how different he is – was already appearing the preserve of pathological optimists.

The last weeks have, though, put very thick nails on the coffin of the “reading Francis through Benedict” narrative. The unspeakably arrogant refusal to even suspend such a disgraceful individual as Monsignor Ricca was followed by an even more arrogant, and even more astonishing, downplaying of sodomitical activity as some sin of the youth – as if the man had been chasing skirt in his early Twenties and before his vocation rather than being an inveterate sodomite uncaring for scandal probably until exposed, and certainly well in his Forties and whilst being a Monsignor – and by the mocking dismissal of the existence of the “gay lobby” of whose existence he himself had informed the planet.

At this point, any reading of Francis through I do not say Benedict, but even Paul VI is utterly untenable. On the contrary, this is a man so different from Benedict in absolutely everything – including intellectual and, as is now abundantly evident, moral stature – that every reading of the one through the others is as absurd as the attempt to give a Catholic interpretation of Mein Kampf.

Francis is, sees himself, and wants to be seen as in head on collision with Benedict. He lives in a completely different dimension, in which not even the concept of the most basic decency could be said to be shared with Benedict's worldview. This is the reality on the ground, and has been from the habemus Papam. We have been slow to get the message, because the message is so shocking that it takes a while to even persuade the faithful of it. But this is where we are, and the Bishop of Rome's invitation to “make noise” – when seen in conjunction with his blatant liturgical abuses before and after his accession to the throne – clearly show this man is positively encouraging a revolutionary movement from the grassroots, and countless liturgical and otherwise abuses meant to make the Church more “modern” and “relevant”; that is, meant to sell Her to the world; lock, stock, and barrel.

Of course, Francis will always be, at times, in agreement with Benedict. It's not that he is denying the Trinity, or the necessity of the Sacraments. If Benedict say that two and two is four, Francis will necessarily agree. But this is also where the similarities end, because truly, Bishop Francis could not have troubled himself more to stress how different he is from Pope Benedict; and, I must add, from all the Popes before the latter.

Seriously: if Francis can be read through Benedict, Hitler can be read through St. Thomas Aquinas.

It just doesn't work.



Posted on July 31, 2013, in Catholicism, Conservative Catholicism, Traditional Catholicism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Remember, he is a {modern} Jesuit, what else would one expect?

  2. Was so disappointed this am to find on my FB feed a poster of the Bishop of Rome with “Who am I to judge?” on it. It was sent by someone who teaches Catholic religious education to children. The poster was issued by an outfit called “Freedom to Marry”. This is the fallout from our loquacious Bishop of Rome. Sound-bytes rule the day.

  3. Now that Francis is on a high after wyd there appears to be growing speculation of some radical change concerning church governance in the near future. Also he seems to be signalling some departure from the traditional Catholic practice regarding divorced and remarried. Have you heard anything in this regard, Mundabor?

    • I think in his “Bergoglio show” on the aeroplane he said something on the lines that nowadays people marry without thinking and an awful lot of marriages could be annulled. Methinks, he might want to “ease” the access to annulment.

      The easier it is to have one’s marriage annulled, the more people will marry without thinking. Therefore, any “easing” in the matter would make more and more of a joke of the Sacrament of Matrimony.


  4. quiavideruntoculi

    The wilful blindness on the part of so many self-styled ‘conservatives’ to Pope Francis’ (amongst others) obvious defects is a tragedy.

    Give me Orthodox rather than merely ‘conservative’ any day; a conservative is, when you get down to it, just someone who doesn’t want to rock the boat… even if rocking the boat is the only way to stop it from sinking.

  5. vermontcrank1

    Who is he to judge? He is the Pope who judges as Pelagians those who count their rosaries.

    He is a pathetic joke who sees a devastated vineyard and thinks, “I must torch this.”

    Kudos on your clear vision and bold writing.

    Conservatives lost Vatican Two BECAUSE they refused to stand and fight – AND threaten to walk out of the council every time they were screwed.

    Conservatives are loyal to a man, the pope rather than being loyal to Tradition; and if a pope traduces Tradition? Well, it does no soul any good to retreat into a papal positivism that considers obedience is necessary to every damn thing he does or proposes.

    The SSPX will see an increasing in-flow the longer this nut razes what is left.

    • Very well said.

      He also did not have any problem in “judging” the Traditionalists of the FFI.

      Faggots at his desk are ok, I guess.


  6. Patrick JK Gray

    Forgive me, Mundabor, but in my opinion reading Benedict XVI through Tradition is impossible. He was no Traditionalist and his progressivist and revolutionary colours (his Conciliar colours) remained unchanged- he was a peritus at the Council and every bit as much a Modernist as Pope Francis, or John Paul II, or Paul V. There was an amusing cartoon put about on the internet showing Pius XII and Benedict XVI with the caption ‘Weren’t you on the theological blacklist when I was in charge?:


    His open praise of the heretics Balthasar and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin [“The role of the priesthood is to consecrate the world so that it may become a living host, a liturgy: so that the liturgy may not be something alongside the reality of the world, but that the world itself shall become a living host, a liturgy. This is also the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host.” (Benedict XVI, sermon, July 2009)] also tell against him.

    There is no ‘hermeneutic of continuity’, only a hermeneutic of self-delusion. The Council was a revolution in the Church, a new 1789. The Conciliar documents themselves, not merely their ‘interpretation’, are riddled with errors and thoroughly evil.

    Abp. Lefebvre – ‘I accuse the Council!’

    • Beware of Sedevacantism, Patrick, and pay much attention not to confuse the likes of Benedict (who certainly isn’t as orthodox as he should; particularly, but not only, in that he has never recanted his earlier works) with the likes of Francis.

      If you can’t see the difference between a Benedict and a Francis, you have read this blog in vain. Yes, Benedict has had his questionable statements, and his theology is defective in part. But to say he is “every bit as much a Modernist as Pope Francis” is an insult to your intelligence.

      If you can’t read the – often very interesting – documents you find on sedevacantist sites without completely losing perspective, I suggest that you stop reading them, or stop reading here.


  7. radjalemagnifique

    This « reading Francis through Benedict » was a child dead-born from the very first moment on. It’s like trying to make a circle square.

    Without pretending to be a Madame Irma, I saw all what is analyzed in this article at the announcement of the election of this Pope, not in the details, but in the great lines. A South-American, a Jesuit, one who had certainly been in touch with the Liberation Theology …

    As said Brantôme, a witty Renaissance writer, in one of his aphorisms : « Méfiez-vous de votre première impression. C’est souvent la bonne. » (« Be aware of your first impression. It’s often the right one. »)

    And here we are. Heard today on a big French radio station (Europe I), citing admiringly
    le newspaper ‘Le Monde’, both furiously anticatholic and antipapist before Francis, citing I said, the Pontiff’s « Who am I to judge the homosexuals ? », so everything is fine in a wonderful world. I wonder why we have been millions in the streets of France against the so-called ‘homo-marriage’, the last two times with Francis already Bishop of Rome. We had no support coming from this side, so no wonder also that there were so few French bishops or prelates among us.

    Radja le Magnifique

    P. S. In the meantime (15 June), Francis received at the Vatican members of the French Parliament and waffled about their « liberty of conscience » in front of certain laws. But the law for the homo-marriage had already been voted on April 23. Sign of our time : the shepherd doesn’t lead the flock but stays behind him (may be he even looks in another direction).

    • I agree with most that you say, Radja, but I think the “attempt” was not only commendable in himself, but rational in his approach.

      Even knowing Pope Jorge was a maverick as a cardinal and archbishop, the most reasonable thing was to assume he would become aware of the role and decide the safest thing is to just be seen as the “pope of the poor” with a bit of waffle and anti-Mozzetta rhetoric.

      The same thing can be said even of Mein Kampf, where very few of those who had read the book thought Hitler willing to really follow up on his prison rants.

      Those who have espoused the “Francis through Benedict” approach certainly did not expect that Francis would let them down in this brutal way…


  8. Attempting to accept the unlikely Francis-through-Benedict mantra, I assumed In the earliest days of this ponitifcate that the choice to live away from the papal apartment was a defensive tactic by Francis to distance himself from the wolves and a moribund Vatican bureaucracy. Instead it seems that the decision has afforded greater capacity to consort with false friends (aka wolves) and to avoid being reined in by wiser counsels.

    • It is not unlikely that he is, in fact, the leader of the pack.

      Not entirely surprising that he wants to have the wolves near him.

      At the moment, he is living in quarters run by a notorious sodomite.


  9. radjalemagnifique

    I didn’t blame the blog in question, in the contrary, I like it very much, and I often act (in real life) following it’s suggestions, and with great benefit.

    Nevertheless, the Church is mainly made of symbols. And one who denies symbols (Bishop of Rome), denies the Church. Intellectual arguments can’t go against this. That’s why I said ‘the die is cast’ (‘alea jacta est’) from the beginning.

    Radja le Magnifique

  10. I’ve been Reading Francis throgh Abp Bugnini and it seems to be relatively peaceful, once you realize this is destruction….it all makes sense

    • Yes, Bugnini will be delighted with Francis. No doubt about that.

      I doubt many of the millions who decided to spend a day of “beach + event” in Copacabana know who Bugnini was, tough….


  11. Great, great post, Mundabor. It is so tempting to want to reassure ourselves that all will be well, that all these data points of bad theology, liturgical abuse, reflexive progressivism, etc., are just sort of accidents, and not the “real” Francis. I think you are also right that the man Jorge is madly in love with the Bishop of Rome Francis. I don’t know where all this ends, but it’s unsettling.

    Someone mentioned Francis and Freedom to Marry above. This —>>>http://www.freedomtomarry.org/blog/entry/as-catholic-support-for-marriage-grows-pope-francis-makes-inclusive-stateme

    — will be going up on my blog soon.

    For centuries, Popes only issued the most carefully worded statements. They never gave off the cuff addresses, nor did they give free flowing media interviews. Even if this was not Francis’ intent, his statement regarding homosexuals is now being trumpeted as one of support, and, hey, guess what?!? Most people will believe it, because they are ignorant. Even most alleged Catholics will believe it.

    We be in some deep kimche, my friends. My only question is, when will the situation be so obviously dire that even the likes of the brick by falling brick crowd get it? Ever?

    • Difficult to say.
      Nowadays “Christianity by hearsay” – as I love to say – is the norm. The V II church has reduced the multitudes to a state of servile ignorance, and now uses it to keep them in a sort of childish stupor hoping they die after the present generation of clergy.

      I sometimes think only a complete lack of belief in the existence of God may induce the current leading echelons of the Church to behave as stupidly as they do. If you don’t believe in God you won’t care three straws about what happens to the Church in 40 or 50 years, provided you die in your privileges and have a quiet life of prestige and influence.


  12. Patrick JK Gray

    Mundabor – My post was pseudo-Sedevacantist rubbish – and a severe insult to the previous Sovereign Pontiff. I retract it (I am very grateful, and ought to be, for the Indult and Summ. P., I pray it will not be withdrawn). Thank you for pulling me up short ere any more damage was done.

    • Wise words, Patrick, that do you honour.

      Please consider whatever you post here is read by hundreds of people, and I dread being the instrument, if involuntary, of confusion for the reader.

      I execute without mercy even the comments of the “V II”, “can you not understand Francis is the right hand of God” messages. Just imagine how much I tolerate messages stinking of Sedevacantism.

      You are a smart chap, Patrick; well intentioned and unusually interested in religion for your age; but you are too impressionable, and must learn to temper your emotions with a robust dose of sound Catholicism.

      Do not allow the difficult times we are leaving to lead you out of the straight and narrow.

      I know it’s an effort at times, but an effort that is part and parcel of the beauty of being a Catholic.


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