Sandro Magister is a veteran journalist. He does not express himself with the virulence of a blog writer. He couldn’t, because he writes for others.
As I have already written in the past, there is a way of saying things in Italy which, whilst probably diffused everywhere, is particularly developed in the Italian political discourse, and very much so when the topic is the Holy Father.
I have already written about the petition of the centre-right newspaper Il Foglio, also officially praising Francis whilst he is petitioned to show some, well, pontifical attributes already. No, let me rephrase it: to show some balls, which hasn’t happened up to now.
Very recently, Sandro Magister has intervened on the issue, but in a far more robust manner. Again, this being Italy and the Pope you must read between the lines. Which, in this case, isn’t really difficult. The emphases are mine.
The incipit/presentation already sets the tone:
A UN report humiliates the Church while exalting the current pontiff. Who is not reacting and is even remaining silent after Belgium has legalized the euthanasia of children. The risks of the strategy of silence adopted by Bergoglio.
This is devastating. The Church is humiliated. Francis is exalted. Fine with him. So desirous he is of popularity that he shuts up even after the Belgian euthanasia law. His strategy is to shut up and be popular. No, really, read it again, and notice the words I have emphasised. This is what the article says, in the only way in which it can be said. If anything, one is surprised at the bluntness.
[…] the cover dedicated to him by the magazine “Rolling Stone,” a full-fledged coronation in the temple of pop culture.
That’s another one. A Pope for the stupid masses. A T-shirt image. The pop culture icon. No, these are not compliments. But boy, this is said in a smart way.
“Or the commendation that by the report of the UN committee on the rights of the child has bestowed on the famous “Who am I to judge?” spoken by Pope Francis, the only one spared in a Catholic Church against which the worst of the worst is said in the same report”.
The unspeakable is told against the Church’s teaching. Francis only is spared, even praised. As the teacher would have asked at school: “Mundabor, what does the author want to say?” Well, mam’, isn’t it clear enough?
It is not easy to enter into the mind of pope Bergoglio. His words are like the tiles of a mosaic whose design is not immediately apparent. He also makes tough and biting remarks, but never at a moment in which they could generate conflict.
Let me rephrase this for you: “No one knows what the heck this man is thinking. His confused statements are all over the place, and do not make sense at all. He is only able to throw punches in the air when there is no adversary around, but he is nowhere to be seen whenever his words would cause opposition from the world”
“And yet it is precisely there that the concealed thought of the Jesuit pope is to be found, his judgment on the present era of the world”.
“What the man thinks, he does not say. He is a Jesuit, you see”.
“The view of the Church is known, and I am a son of the Church,” Francis says and says again. His thought is the same as that which is written in the catechism. And sometimes he recalls this combatively for those who expect him to change doctrine, as in the least-cited passage of his “Evangelii Gaudium,” where he has the harshest of words against the “right” to abortion. But he never proclaims Church teaching out loud at a moment when the dispute over an issue has become heated”.
“He manages to be, at times, Catholic when his official orthodoxy (in which we desperately want to believe, or at least we must say so) can be buried in the middle of a 50,000 words mega-statement, never mentioned by the press. But when there is some heated discussion, he invariably chickens out”.
“He has kept quiet now that the euthanasia of children has been permitted by law in Belgium. He keeps himself apart from the millions of citizens of every faith who in France and in other countries are opposing the dissolution of the idea of the family made up of father, mother, and children. He has remained silent after the unprecedented affront of the UN report”.
“He shuts up about euthanasia, sodomy and destruction of the family, and the unprecedented affront of the EU report. There’s nothing he would not shut up about, if speaking would make him unpopular”.
“With this he intends to blunt the weapons of the adversary. To defeat him with the immense popularity of his figure as pastor of the mercy of God”.
“Look, I have already told you no one knows what the heck the man is doing. I do not want to end up like the “Radio Maria” journalists. So please bear with me and pretend you believe this rubbish”.
“There is also this in the popularity of Francis, a pope “like never before,” finally “one of us,” molded through a copy-and-paste of his open, adaptable statements”.
“The Pope speaks stupid slogans for the masses, that everyone can highjack for his own purposes. Copy-and-paste fluff. That’s why he is popular whilst the Church is insulted”.
“This worldly cunning could not have been used against his predecessor, Benedict XVI. He, the meek one, preferred conflict in the open field, with the courage of the yes that means yes and the no that means no, “in season and out of season,” as in Regensburg, when he lifted the curtain on the theological roots of the connection between faith and violence in Islam, and yet again on the “non-negotiable” questions. This is why the world was so ferocious with him”.
“Can you see the difference? Benedict did not shun the fight, and the world hated him ferociously. Francis avoids anything vaguely resembling a conflict with the world, and the world adores him”.
I have no doubt whatsoever some rather angry phone calls will be directed at the editor of the “Espresso”; a magazine which, whilst undoubtedly leftist, cherishes its supposed unbiased attitude towards issues near to the heart of the Country, and its link to its more moderate readership. Without a doubt, a soft but suitable pressure will be gently applied to the star journalist who must not be allowed to have his own foreign policy; and who, obviously, already knows it, and knows what he can write and how he can avoid breaking too much china.
Wait for some weakly praising articles of Bergoglio from the same author in the days and weeks to come. Alas, it’s how things are done in Italy. First, no enemies.
Still, those who can read will understand the implications, and will know what’s brewing. Plenty of those intelligent and informed readers in Italy; a country that whilst generally very blunt can be – exactly because of the dangers of the usual bluntness – full of subtle communications codes, and where even murders can be and in fact are commissioned without the need to give an explicit order.
Make no mistake, this was a huge torpedo. The Italian way, that is.
This source is in French, but credible sources consider it reliable.
What it says in the world's second most beautiful language is as follows:
1. Monsignor Ricca has not offered, but has in fact presented his resignation to Bishop Francis on Saturday.
2. The resignation extends to his activity as, ahem, “homo hotelier” at the Vatican.
3. Further misconduct in recent years has emerged.
Now this may seem little but, if confirmed, would not be good at all.
For Pope Francis to prefer to travel to Rio and leave such a scandal crying to heaven for vengeance can mean only one of the two: he wants to leave undistubed the cult for his person as he travels to Brasil, or he wants to protect his homo “buddy” by allowing him to go away gracefully. In both cases, personal interest has come before the reputation and prestige of the Church, and great scandal was given – and as I write, is still given – to faithful Catholics.
The one with Magister's sources being “untrustworthy” – once again, a masterpiece of ineptitude and arrogance – will now unavoidably turn against either Father Lombardi or, far more probably, Bishop Bergoglio. There can be no doubt that here either Magister is untrustworthy, or Bishop Bergoglio*. Tertium non datur. To paraphrase Jane Austen, in this matter there isn't enough trustworthiness for both of them.
Therefore, either the Bishop of Rome is a liar – and therefore qua definitione untrustworthy – or he is so carelessly arrogant – and still untrustworthy – as to send his own press man to state heavy words without caring for a proper homework first. Before you get all angry at me, reflect on how you would scream if, say, Obama had been – obviously mutatis mutandis – in Bishop Francis' actual situation. We would all say that …. well, you all know what we would say.
To 2. I am surprised that the obvious scandal of a sodomite priest running three hotels for priests has not caused more horror, tragic hilarity and, in time, close scrutiny. The man has probably used his position to arrange every possible kind of “meetings” with and between his buddies, from all over the world; people he wanted to link to himself, link to each other and make part of his network. His position must also have put him in the knowledge of many a secret, and in a position to destroy many a career. He must have been a very powerful man, this dirty little scumbag. Bishop Francis trusted him, though, and actually felt comfortable living under a roof run by him.
From the conclave (charitable version; please spare me from the other one):
“Ah, this Francis is one with a safe instinct for choosing the right people! Let us give him the task to reform the Curia from the homo mafia, and from the other problems!”.
This serves Francis right. Should have stayed in the Papal Apartments. In this particular case, the punishment for his “humble” hubris came particularly swift, and particularly hard. A faggot as host, lunch buddy for three months and even protégé? Hats off: he could not have done worse. Takes some doing. Respect.
To 3. Every attempt to depict a Pope that was impressed with Ricca's “conversion” will die with this particular piece of news; then everyone knows the gossip must have been there, and Bishop Francis would look even more as a managerial Waterloo if the story were to be spread.
Well then: arrogant, simpleton, or a mixture of the two. I personally vote for the first hypothesis. The man is too smart to be a nincompoop; he is good enough at marketing himself (no shame, though; which helps); but in the end he is clearly not smart enough to run the Church.
More and more, the hubris of this stubborn but not exceedingly prescient Pope emerges. Whilst the world media try to make of him the next Mahatma Gandhi, those who can think for themselves have abundantly photographed this man. Click around and read the one or other priestly blog, and you will read for yourself.
If you have a very robust sense of humour, you will find this papacy at least grotesquely entertaining. I try to take it with as much humour as I can, but I am an emotional man and am easily angered, so it's not all that easy.
I do hope, though, this particular kind or Circus Medrano will come to an end, obviously in the Lord's good time. I do not have any illusion about Francis' successor, but one can at least hope in some shrewdness.
Alexander VI was at least a clever man, an orthodox Pope, and a great peacemaker.
This here is bad even at being a bad Pope.
* the reader's intelligence will not be insulted by implying the “untrustworthy” stunt is an initiative of Father Lombardi.