As the Synod approaches, the signals multiply that the dreamed-of pacific acceptance of the Heresy of Kasper is a fantasy for pot-smoking liberal prelates.
The last ones are a string of influential religious and Catholic thinkers, clearly drawing a line in the sand. The link is here. In short, they are four: Father Brian Harrison, O.S.; Joseph Matt of The Wanderer, ( I think this is the cousin of the excellent Michael Matt of the “Remnant”, already well-known to the readers of this effort); Professor Robert Spaemann, a German theologian; and Father José Granados, another theologian who is, interestingly, also well-connected with the Vatican machine.
I invite you to read the article and follow the four in detail. I notice here that I never noticed the “Wanderer” as a publication fighting for orthodoxy in the muscular way I would love to see around (the “Remnant” is, if you ask me, of a different caliber altogether). Still, the Wanderer not only reminds the Pope of the teaching of the Church, but it – in the message, if not in the words – defy him to come out with a robust defence of the teaching of the Church come October. The letter is here.
All of them make very important considerations, but the most brutally frank is, if you ask me, Father Harrison. He goes so far as to state the following words:
I feel I should conclude this talk by going on record as stating that I myself, with the help of God, will never profane the Sacrament of Penance and violate my own conscience by giving a sacrilegious absolution to someone in that situation, no matter what higher authority in the Church might tell me to do so. May God, through the mighty protection and intercession of Saint Joseph, Head of the Holy Family, preserve his Church from endorsing Cardinal Kasper’s iniquitous revisionist proposal.
This, my friends, is a gauntlet all right, and I can hear the “thump” as it falls on the ground.
Let us see who within the Church – be he a priest, a bishop, a cardinal, or a shameless Pope prostituting his office for the sake of popularity – has the nerve to pick it up. They must know, however, that before any eternal punishment – in which they obviously do not believe – they will be confronted with a savage battle on this earth, as they are refused obedience to their heresy and impiousness.
Francis, Kasper & Co. are drunken fools if they think that they can explode a nuclear device in October and see the waters calm down after a week or two of mumblings of dissatisfaction.
He who starts a nuclear war must deal with the nuclear fallout. At the end of which not him, but the Church, will emerge victorious.
We need more of these gauntlets. The more they are, the more improbable the nuclear conflict becomes.
October is going to be our Cuban Missile Crisis.
We must not let the Commies win.
And so you are now, dear reader, a Pope. A Very Bad One. I mean, one of those Gandhi-cum-Dalai Lama people unable to go beyond the most banal platitudes, but so much in love with themselves they will do everything to please the world that lavishes praises on them.
One of the problems you have, my dear reader turned bad Pope, is the army of divorced Catholics who live with their lovers. This bothers you. Not, mind, because they live with their lovers; rather, because they lament your Church’s (and, by extension, yours) lack of approval for their behaviour. You like approval. These people are very loud. They think like the world, and the world likes them, and you want to be liked by the world. Ergo, you must do something for them.
Now: being a bad Pope, you also think that all these old notions of “judging others” should be discarded. If people are in good faith and follow their conscience, who are you to judge? A scribe? A hypocrite? A Holy Card face?
No, you have to do something there. Still, you realise that fundamental changes in the way the Church operates would cause a huge stir, and real doctrinal changes are not allowed to you anyway. After talking to your advisors – the homosexual friend of yours is a smart chap; yes, you know, but who are you to judge? – they suggest that you do the following:
1. Announce an extraordinary synod, taking your time: 13 or 14 months, say. This needs to be prepared carefully, you know.
2. Allow those most interested in material changes to make a lot of noise, demand shockingly sweeping reforms, and even create the expectation that they are now unavoidable. You will support them not openly, but clearly enough. You will talk generally of the necessity of “not judging”, and they will fill your slogan with the desired content. You will praise the one or other Cardinal on their side. But not too much. You are on the sidelines.
3. Wait for the unavoidable reaction and huge resistance, which you know will come. Allow the opposing camps to fight it to the knife; all the while inviting the contending parties to “tolerance”, “dialogue” and, of course, “charity”. At this point, the two sides have equal dignity. It’s not about right and wrong, you will let it transpire; rather, it is about how mercy must be lived in these oh so new times of ours, in which new phenomena, unknown to humanity before, have appeared: like sluttish wives and horny husbands, broken marriages and public concubines. If the Cardinals are against you, you will use the bishops – far more numerous, younger, and hungrier – to let things go your way. It’s not you, you see. It must be the “Spirit”. You will talk about the “Spirit” a lot; because like parsley, the “Spirit” can be used everywhere.
4. At the very end, intervene with a solution that whilst negating to the reformers the absurdly unrealistic changes they have pretended to demand, concedes to them vastly more than what would have been feasible if the unrealistic and absurd demands had not been made in the first place. You have listened to everyone. You have noticed the cry for help, the need for reform. You can feel the “Spirit” work. The reforms of VII must be continued. We live in the time of mercy now.
At this point, you have delivered for your friends more than they could ever dream of, whilst being presented by your useful idiots – a Pope has never any scarcity of those – as a merciful, conservative Pope wisely steering the Church through difficult times. Countless bloggers will praise your delicate and pastoral hand, and the Catholic Press will start to prepare the faithful for your now allegedly unavoidable canonisation.
5. This is the consolidation phase, the maintenance programme, but also the harvest time. The world will rejoice. You have delivered again. The secular press will point out to how much you are demolishing, er, modernising, the way the Church understands Herself. They will send to their readers the clear message that the Church was always wrong anyway, and you get it; that you are now destroying all that can reasonably be destroyed considering the constraints of your position; that whilst still the Pope, you are on their side. They will still feebly criticise you at times – for example, for not openly celebrating sodomy – but this will work for you just fine, as the Pollyannas’ Army will immediately pick up every criticism to shout to the world how orthodox you are. “Is the Pope Catholic?”, they will ask, smiling. Business as usual, folks. Nothing to look at; or, as the Italian guard would say: circolare, circolare!
At this point, your victory will be almost total. Yes, a minority of party-poopers will insist in criticising you. They will do so vocally, insistently, for as long as you live. They will use harsh words. But you are prepared. You will launch the Pollyannas’ Army against them; you will talk all the time about the “judgmental” people, the “hypocrites”, the “Neo-Pelagians”. You will call them all sorts of names and insult them in all possible ways, whilst repeating without pause that we must not be judgmental. They will never be destroyed, but they won’t be much in your way, either, at least if things go according to plan. You will, in fact, try to use them to present yourself as the innocent victim of “judgmentalism”, the man of mercy criticised by two-dimensional, holy-card-like “people of the law”.
Dear reader and bad Pope, as a I write this you are at point 2, and everything is going according to plan. Point 3 will be a huge shock for Catholics, but it will work well for you. Point 4 will be the most difficult for you personally. Point 5 might be challenging but, given time, perfectly doable.
At every moment, you will be free to backpedal if you see the game is getting too dangerous. You will be, at all times, the one who calls the shots, the one who brakes publicly and sends covert messages it is time to put the foot on the gas again. Nothing will be directly attributed to you until the very end; and when the end game comes you will be seen to merely react, wisely and pastorally, to external circumstances, whilst listening to the Spirit.
So do not worry. Allow other people to fight your fight. But you, you just stay calm: kiss children, embrace wheelchairs, stay near to the cameras, and prepare the ground.
There’s no downside for you. You will get out of this as the winner anyway.
The world is such a fool.