As 2014 draws to a close, I cannot avoid reflecting on a fact very simple in its shocking reality: 2015 is the year that will see a conflict between the Church on one side and the Pope on the other not seen since the time of John XXII, pretty much 680 years ago.
But then I reflect on this: that 680 years ago there was no scarcity of Cardinals supporting the Pope, and the lure of office (power and honours and, let us not kid ourselves, riches and women, at least for some of them…) moved many without shame or fear of the Lord to side with the Pope, and against sanity.
The Church is still there and, with all her problems, she is still very powerful, largely due to the excellent work made in the 100 years before V II. John XXII is barely remembered, and he is actually completely forgotten outside of the world of the historians and history fans; whatever surge in popularity he may get now, it will be because of Francis, that is: for all the wrong reasons.
But the Church is still there, and if I were to tell your Catholic down the road that there was a time of such grave crisis in the Church as to make it very realistic that the Pope be declared heretic, deposed and probably burnt at the stake, your Catholic down the road would look at me in amused disbelief.
John XXII is dust, the Church is Granite.
May the average Catholic, in 680 years, look at the episode of Francis, The Dope Pope, with the same amused disbelief.