The Rudderless Ship And The Clueless Helmsman
Interviewed about the recent affirmation of Cardinal Burke about the “rudderless ship”, Pope Francis has pretended not to know about it. Mind: he does understands some comments of the sort might have been made. It just did not occur to him that one of the (then) most powerful men in the Curia, a Cardinal and a voice heard the world over, would make them! Can't find the article anymore, but take it from me, this was the gist.
First of all, let us clear a very basic point. Of course he knows. Not one, but twenty people in his entourage have most certainly, most certainly informed him about it, even if he – which I do not believe in the least – does not search for news about himself on the Internet!
Once we have put ourselves firmly on the ground of reality, let us examine why the Pope would say something so absurd.
1. The first hypothesis is, of course, the insult. Burke is simply nowhere. No trace of him on the radar screen. “Cardinal…Who?” Francis might have meant the slight, and a brutal slight it would be. But I, who am so good and charitable, will try other avenues.
2. Francis has a tendency to remove bad news. One who can ignore the impending self-extinction of his own order and the abject failure of his work as seminary rector, bishop and archbishop can most certainly pretend he doesn't know about his own cardinals clearly calling him unfit for the job. “Oh, he said that? Yeah, right, I get it, one might think that. But come on, I am just furthering dialogue here…”
3. Francis is stupid. He says what he feels like saying. Unpleasant questions aren't really answered. That this gives the reader further confirmation that the ship is rudderless is either not understood, or considered utterly irrelevant. What is said today is of no relevance tomorrow. Heck, it's of no relevance today!
Still, TMAHICH is in a difficult position here. Whilst it is offensive or childish or outright stupid to deny he knows about Burke's statement, there are no satisfying answers to the underlying issue: because in fact the boat is rudderless; the confusion is there; the heresy is rampant!
Bergoglio can try to mask the mess as a sort of dialogue, but he can't deny the effects of his Pontificate on the Church. His ability to remove bad news does not go as far as that.
The ship is rudderless.
Not even the clueless helmsman has the gut to deny it.