The Wages Of Arrogance Is Ridicule
I would not believe these days if I were not living them myself. Luther himself, or Calvin, would certainly not believe a Pope able to make such a show of incompetence as the one we are experiencing.
Let us see what is happening. I am, for the record, not pulling your leg.
1. Father Lombardi speaks with journalists on Thursday trying to stem the brown tide advancing his way. The Fishwrap reports him so:
Pressed by reporters on the reliability of the direct quotations, Lombardi said during an Oct. 2 briefing that the text accurately captured the “sense” of what the pope had said, and that if Francis felt his thought had been “gravely misrepresented,” he would have said so.
What is happening here is extremely obvious: the journalists still can’t believe a Pope could release such heretical statements, and ask poor Lombardi what is what. Lombardi can’t contradict the Pope, and the interview has now been out for the entire planet to read without Francis expressing one word of disagreement. In fact, the entire interview is posted on the Vatican internet site. Again, if this weren’t enough of an attribution of paternity, the fact that Francis has-not-said-a-word of correction would speak worlds anyway.
Therefore, poor Lombardi gives an answer on the lines of “don’t nail me to any word, but I cannot deny at this point the interview reflects the Pope’s thinking, or he would have said so”.
Fair enough. Please also notice that it is inconceivable that Repubblica does not give Francis the draft of the interview asking him to give the green light. This would be obvious anyway, but the more so as it would now appear there were no recorders and no stenographers. If (cough…) someone is afraid that 5,000 words of confused, unconnected ramblings end up in an interview or in a recording, that one should bloody well care that the draft given to him afterwards carefully represents his thinking. Eh? Ah? No?
Just so you know, Scalfari is fully there with his head, and has been a journalist for many decades now. He knows his trade. I wish I could have more doubts about the other’s head, and less about his trade.
Everything is fine, or not fine, then. There were no recorders, but the Pope would have approved the draft, and can certainly open Repubblica and read the interview in the case – that you might believe, depending on what you smoke – he had not approved the text beforehand. Again, Lombardi said it himself: if the interview had not reflected the Pope’s view, he would have said so. But he didn’t, so it does. Francis has, therefore, taken paternity and accepted full responsibility at the latest when he has not reacted to the interview; interview which is now even on the Vatican site.
What’s difficult in that?
A lot, it seems.
2. Enter Cardinal Dolan, Guffawer-In-Chief and, like Francis, another one Obama likes a lot.
Dolan is every bit as sly as Francis, but he is far more intelligent. Even as heretical Pope, I think he’d make a far more refined one. The Cardinal waits, then, several days to see whether Francis objects to the interview. Nothing happens. After Lombardi has stated the obvious and it is clear Francis has taken full paternity of the interview, Dolan launches a huge torpedo in the direction – make no mistake on this – of the Holy Father himself, and says what Francis has stated cannot have taken place. Francis first accepted, and then retired in prayer. He accepted with no hesitation.
Francis had said (emphases mine):
“Rarely. For example when the conclave elected me Pope. Before I accepted I asked if I could spend a few minutes in the room next to the one with the balcony overlooking the square. My head was completely empty and I was seized by a great anxiety. To make it go way and relax I closed my eyes and made every thought disappear, even the thought of refusing to accept the position, as the liturgical procedure allows. I closed my eyes and I no longer had any anxiety or emotion. At a certain point I was filled with a great light. It lasted a moment, but to me it seemed very long. Then the light faded, I got up suddenly and walked into the room where the cardinals were waiting and the table on which was the act of acceptance. I signed it, the Cardinal Camerlengo countersigned it and then on the balcony there was the ‘Habemus Papam’.”
The question was whether it had ever happened to him to have a “mystical moment”. From Francis words it is clear he has a very vivid recollection that this “filling with great light” was one of the rare mystical moments of his life, the one that persuaded him to sign the acceptance. This wasn’t seventy years ago, folks. This was seven months ago. Less, actually. One remembers, does one not? Also, please do not kid yourselves into thinking this is a small detail: read the phrase again, the tension, the dynamic, the drama of the man “suddenly” getting up, walking into the room, seeing the act, signing it. Stuff for a movie, folks. “Life and Lio of Francis the Humble”. No, this isn’t a secondary detail. This is the attempt to envelop the election in a mystical light, an attempt now debunked by, of all people, Cardinal Dolan. What a shame. What a shame. What a shame.
So Cardinal Dolan’s revelations imply one of these:
1. The interview is one pile of rubbish, as seen from the “enlightenment” tale. Francis was happy with it.
2. The interview is accurate in the heretical part. Francis was happy with it. But it was also invented in the legend of the “mystical experience that persuades him to accept”. Francis was happy with that, too. He had not said it that way, you know; but gosh, it made him look good!… and so humble! I can hear the music: Maaaagic… Moooments….
3. The interview is accurate and Francis agrees with what Repubblica wrote; but he is, ahem… old, you know…
4. Francis makes the interview without recorder; he does not read the draft, but he approves it nevertheless; he has the interview printed and making an awful mess all over the planet, but still doesn’t read it. Everyone in the Catholic world knows exactly what he would have said and discusses it, only he doesn’t. Therefore, it’s all Pinocchio’s fault; or Breznev’s; or the Cheshire Cat’s. It must be so, then Francis is the Pope. Though he doesn’t like to say it, of course. Cheshire Cat is it, then.
In all four cases, Francis gets out demolished, and I mean, demolished. He can only get out of this case as:
1. An old man in his dotage;
2. a liar; and a massive one at that, as we are talking here of a “mystical experience” allegedly at the root of his decision to become Pope. A vainglorious one, too, embellishing his election – or willfully accepting to have it embellished – with “magic moment” mystical experiences. Can you imagine the Pontiff Emeritus even thinking of something like that…
3. a man of such an astounding superficiality and laziness that he does not even read the draft of an interview he knows will be read all over the world before giving it the green light, and does not even care to read the interview after it has made a mess all over the planet. I esteem my readers, though, and will not insult their intelligence asking them to believe this one. They should leave it to the conspiracy theorists, and assorted Pollyannas.
If you think there are other possibilities, let me know. I will exclude the hypothesis that he is willfully evil and a minion of Satan, and ask everyone not to make such hypotheses. Therefore, apart from the three mentioned above I see no other possibility in the realm of sensible discussion, though the usual spinmeisters will no doubt find some excuses. For example: extraterrestrials have kidnapped him between the 1 and the 5 October; the wolves have not allowed him to read the draft, because they have him prisoner in the Papal Apartments.. erm, no, wait!… ; the wolves have let every copy of Repubblica disappear from every newsagent on a one mile radius from the Vatican City. No internet, of course. No TV. Father Lombardi was beamed to an Argentinian favela, and threatened to move his office there if he speaks.
Please, let us stop kidding ourselves. Let us face reality. It’s one, two or three. None of them very complimentary, but 1 and 2 (well, erm … cough…) not entirely out of character.
Francis has taken responsibility for the interview, as Father Lombardi himself had to see. Even if Dr Scalfari was, as they say, “high as a kite” or completely gaga, this would not change a iota in the fact the interview was published, made a scandal all over the planet, and Francis did not correct the draft before publication and did not say a word of correction after it. Francis bears full responsibility for what was published. Don’t shoot the pianist.
You would not have expected this from Cardinal Dolan. He laughs always so much.
Gosh, the man can launch a torpedo. Still, this latest shame – the worst of them all, as the personal integrity of the Pope is concerned – is all Francis’ doing.
If this Francis gives another interview of the sort, even only one, it means he is very probably beyond redemption. Perhaps he is, though, still sensible enough to understand that he is making an ass of himself, and the butt of worldwide jokes. At the same time, the now rapidly growing ridicule is perhaps our only chance to avoid things going really south. When the entire Catholic world laughs at Francis’ antics, perhaps we will see him put the foot on the brake. He seems very humbly attached to his reputation, you see.
The wages of arrogance is ridicule. One would hope the Bishop of Rome got it at last.