Father Z has a rather astonishing post about Paul VI discovering the abolition of the Octave of Pentecost, and the subsequent duty to wear green instead of red vestments, on the very morning of the fact.
One does not know whether to pity or despise more a man who, whilst in charge as Pope, is so disinterested in liturgical matters that he must be informed on the very morning of momentous liturgical changes he has himself approved. The show of culpable dereliction of duty and outright incompetence revealed by the episode is quite breathtaking.
Possibly even worse, though, is the man’s reaction at the discovery.
He weeps. And does nothing.
Paul VI was certainly conscious of being the Pope. He must have known, then, that the powers of a Pope go far beyond weeping; they extend, in actual fact, to reigning.
A Pope upset enough at the discovery of a liturgical opprobrium that he even weeps about it, but then does nothing about it albeit it is perfectly in his powers to act, shows a kind or ineptitude and a lack of resoluteness, an absence of the most basic qualities required in a Pope, that one can only see as do disgracefully unmanly as to border on sheer effeminacy.
Mind, I was never sold on the one of Paul VI’s homosexuality. It seems not realistic to me that Paul VI may have been homosexual without the facts leaking out with such self-evident force as to become a huge weapon in the hands of those who hate the Church, from common atheists to activist Communists to militant sodomites, to Protestants of all flavours.
But truly, reading episodes like the one above one understands how the suspicion could arise. This is not a worthy Successor of Peter, but a weeping girl so out of his depth that the evil people around him can do whatever they please undisturbed, and not even fearful of any of their changes being nullified by the Pope.
It is, to me, the source of ever renewed amusement that a Pope who was decent once in fifteen year of pontificate should by some be considered a sort of hero who stood firm like a rock on the impact of a huge wave of change.
The contrary is the case. Pope Paul stood like a frightened little girl in the midst of a marauding pack of Hell’s Angels bikers; pretty much always, with one notable exception; and remaining, as the little frightened girl, so shocked at the reaction to Humanae Vitae that he did not write any other encyclical letter for the following eleven or so years of his pontificate.
Pope Paul VI not only all but abdicated his social and political role, but he also oversaw the slow destruction of the church whilst doing pretty much nothing else but weep.
He will be beatified in October.
Such is the post conciliar church.