Daily Archives: April 13, 2018
I gather from some corners the impression that the problem with Francis’ legitimacy resides in the way Benedict resigned; or rather, following the argument, not resigned. I think this is a false problem.
There can be no doubt that Benedict himself: 1. Wanted another to be selected Pope and 2. Regards him as the guy in charge. Therefore, to claim that Francis is not Pope because of this is like saying that the man did not know what he was doing and we can decide for ourselves what his position is. You can as well maintain that Edward VIII never abdicated because, say, he was threatened with forced removal from office.
Those more in tune with Italian society, however, understand very well what Benedict – who has lived in Italy for many decades now, and knows the ins and outs of our cultural environment – wanted to do: avoid being called a Celestino. Which latter thing is, canonisation or not, an insulting concept many Italians are acquainted with from grade school, courtesy of our greatest poet (who, smartly, never called him by name; but as they say, intelligenti pauca ).
I simply take people at their words, and Benedict has given such support to Francis that there can be no doubt about his intentions.
Also, and perhaps more importantly in this matter, the way of Benedict’s abdication has no bearing on the way Francis behaves. There is no reason to believe that Francis pontificate would have been any different if the Conclave which elected him had been triggered not by Benedict’s resignation, but by his death, on exactly the same day. You would have had the same Cardinals and the same procedure. Conversely, you can rest assured that, had the Conclave resulted in the election of a perfectly orthodox, heroically Catholic Pope, absolutely no one would, now, be questioning his legitimacy.
Francis’ legitimacy problem is not a function of his election. It is a function of his behaviour. He is a legitimately elected Pope who has, through his innumerable heresies and scandals, deserved to be deprived of his office in the way Church tradition and common sense allow: with an imperfect Council triggered by either Bishops or Cardinals declaring the man self-deposed and electing a new one. And all this does not require in the least any questioning of the legitimacy of his election.
Benedict’s supposedly erroneously abdicated papacy is a false problem. The real problem is Francis’ very real scandals. We don’t need Benedict to remedy those; nor, very frankly, would he want to.
I read around the (certainly welcome) invitation to call an Imperfect Council to depose the Evil Clown. I wholeheartedly support the idea, and I have written many times from this modest outlet that this is the way to go; then volens nolens, Francis is Pope, and we can’t escape this reality by just wishing it away.
We even have the precedent: when Pope Marcellinus sacrificed to pagan gods, there was no solemn, expensive, long-winded Ecumenical Council to decide whether to depose him; on the contrary, the bishops that could be gathered in accordance to the circumstances (in a ferociously persecuted Church, and therefore with even more limitations) gathered to do what it had to be done. I can’t imagine that many people spent much time reflecting whether such a course of action, for which there was no precedent, was appropriate or legal in the first place. It had to be done, full stop.
Today, we have the same circumstances: a Pope sacrificing daily to the altar of worldly culture: not denying he has denied that the soul of the damned suffer eternal torment, attacking the Sacraments, defending adultery, insulting everything that is Catholic, and on and on and on. Therefore, the thing to do would be to call an imperfect Council with the bishops that can be gathered, put the guy on trial and call him deposed, and let the Lord sort out the details of the battle He certainly called us to fight. A variant of the same, and a much faster one at that, would be that a credible number of Cardinals takes the initiative for the bishops, as the Cardinals are the ones who elected the Pope (which wasn’t the case in the time of Marcellinus, because there was no College of Cardinals yet) and they could therefore be the ones who, faced with manifest heresy, take him down.
The problem with this is – as I write this and barring an extraordinary Divine Intervention – the utter and complete absence of the commodity necessary to do such a thing, that is: the orthodox Bishops and/or Cardinals.
Out of my mind, I know of only a couple of non-Cardinals, non-SSPX bishops who have forcefully protested against Amoris Laetitia: Schneider and Gracida. Then I became aware of a faint meowing of four Cardinals, paper tigers all of them, who proceeded to wet their lips, but folded when they had to whistle, and two of those were surprised by death in the midst of their betrayal.
It is, therefore, difficult to think that – bar a divine intervention – such an event may take place.
My take on the future is rather a different one: that Burke and others have decided that the most convenient thing to do (for them) is to shut up and wait for Francis’ death. After which, you can be certain that everyone (and Burke first of all) will discover that they had been great heroes during Francis’ pontificate, and will demand that we pay tribute to their paper tiger orthodoxy. Burke in particular seems fully intentioned to threaten with a formal correction until Judgement Day or until Francis dies, whichever comes first; thus reaping all the advantages of mock “resistance” whilst actually giving none.
No, this bunch of Cowardinals and these fearful Bishops will not give us any imperfect council. What they will give us is the indecent spectacle of their silence and cowardice, which they will then, when the day comes, smuggle to the Pollyannas as “prudent” behaviour.
Imagine the Bishops in the time of Marcellinus deciding to just wait for his death! Mind, being persecuted and forced to hide they would have had a much, much better excuse for their silence! But those were Catholic Bishops, with the fear of the Lord and willing to do whatever it takes; not spoiled functionaries and politicians living in comfort, and at times in splendid palaces, putting their own power and privileges before everything, and most certainly before Christ and His Church.
The years we are living will go down in history as the most disgraceful era of the Church, bar none, making the Renaissance Popes (who were, all of them, Catholic!) pale in comparison.
Bar a miracle, I can’t see any sensible opposition to Francis coming from this disgraceful bunch of pussycats.