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Criticising The Pope


This is an excerpt from the Mario Palmaro's interview, already mentioned on this blog. You find the complete text in the usual Rorate.

The fact that a pope is “liked” by people is completely irrelevant to the two-thousand-year logic of the Church: the pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth and he has to please Our Lord. This means that the exercise of his power is not absolute, but is subordinate to the teaching of Christ, which is found in the Catholic Church, in Her Tradition and fostered by the life of Grace through the Sacraments.
Now, this means that the pope himself can be judged and criticized by the [ordinary] Catholic, on the condition that this happens in the perspective of love for the truth, and that as a criteria of reference, Tradition and the Magisterium are used. A pope contradicting a predecessor in matters of faith and morals has to, without question, be criticized.
We must distrust both the worldly logic where the pope is judged by democratic criteria which satisfies the majority, and the temptation to “papolatry” according to which “the pope is always right.” Furthermore, for decades now we have become used to criticizing many popes from the past in a destructive manner, exhibiting scarce historiographic seriousness; well then, we don’t see why reigning popes or the most recent ones are spared in any way from any type of criticism. If Boniface VII or Pius V are judged why not also judge Paul VI or Francis?

The late Mario Palmaro (for the repose of whose soul I invite you to pray once again) seems here to answer questions that have not been posed yet; in the sense that the poor man could not have known the outlandish position that one must be sure that he will be a Great Saint before daring to publicly criticise the Pope.

But this is not why I write this blog post. I write this blog post to drive home the concept that Catholic bloggers criticise the Bishop of Rome because they love Christ and His Church, and they will criticise him according to their way of loving Christ and His Church: some of them more emotionally, some others in a colder way. Padre Pio never stopped and thought twice what he was doing before slapping one in the face, out of love for the one he was slapping; and what a blessing, a slap in the face from Padre Pio…

I have in the last weeks stumbled upon many blogs critical of the Pope, as Voris' outlandish claim that every prelate should be criticised with the exception of the Pope has made them emerge in my PC screen. They are written in all possible tones, and actually in different languages; they reflect different temperaments, experiences, and blood pressures; but I have not found one, not a single one, by which the love for the Church and the care for the souls of the faithful was not the motivating factor for their criticism. The argument of the “nasty bloggers” is disingenuous, to say the very least.

The comment boxes are, admittedly, a different matter. Due to the modern ideas of “tolerance” seemingly dominating the modern blogosphere, cranks of all types – from the aggressive Sedevacantist to the conspiracy theorist to the terminally obsessed – populate them and create this image of the “traddie crank” as the prototype of the person wishing hell to 95% of the human population; a perception magnified by the cafeteria troops, who identify with them everyone more than 20 cm away from a tambourine. I do not follow this editorial line, and cull messages of more or less explicit sedevacantist or conspiracy theory flavour with beautiful regularity. But the fact it, you can't browse around without reading them.

On the other hand, when people are angry it will come out. It is right that it be so. Good people get angry, too. Righteous anger is not a sin, and only the cafeteria troops, to whom every anger is wrong, will see a sin in it. Methinks, their Jesus spent the day picking daisies.

Still, to throw away the just criticism of an utterly disgraceful Pope – a Pope who, if he said the same things as a parish priest, would be considered unworthy of the habit and worth of defrocking from every sound thinking parishioner of his – with the bathwater of emotionally supercharged, grumpy old men does not seem the thing to do. The problem is there, and it is a huge one. Those who focus on side effects of the problem rather than on the problem itself have simply missed the point.

The dying Mario Palmaro obviously saw the point. Dying, he decided to die expressing a charitable, but extremely firm, criticism to the end. I have no doubt that he was never moved either by personal animosity toward Francis, or by desire to aggrandise himself at the expense of a Pope; an impossible feat, this one: then no Catholic will ever love to criticise, or read a criticism of, the Pope. Which is another fact that the “critics of the critics” continue to ignore.

Of course the Pope should be criticised. If he has deserved harsh criticism, of course he should be criticised harshly. He should be, in fact, criticised in such a way as to counteract, as much as possible, the immense fallout of his reckless statements. He should be criticised by exposing those mistakes he has not recanted from – that is, to today: all of them – again and again, lest he should think that he can do and say whatever he pleases and give scandal at every turn, and everything will be forgotten in a matter of weeks because “hey, it's old”.

This Pope also has an extremely disquieting trait; a trait that was, to my knowledge, not present in any of his predecessors, and certainly of none of them since the beginning of mass communication: an unprecedented willingness to make an ass of himself in a very public way, whenever he thinks this will serve to increase his popularity.

In Francis the Pope is nowhere, Jorge Bergoglio is everywhere. If he thought that being photographed with a red nose – symbolic of a clown – would help his popularity, he would do it (oh, wait!). It is not clear, then, why he should be allowed to make such a clown of himself, but others should not point out to what kind of clown we have as a Pope. If you refuse to be blind in front of the heresy, you must also refuse to be blind in front of the tomfoolery, and the continuous scandal given not only by questionable statements, but by the relentless quest for a stage so typical of this man.

To think that this man, so obsessed with his own glorification, so astonishingly vain as to see the very Papacy exclusively through the lens of his own mass approval, should be believed “humble” by the world is, in fact, another demonstration Christ is giving us of how stupid the world is, and how foolish it is to follow it.

“Enjoy” (so to speak) the red nose. It's not photoshopped. It's not leaked. It's not a slip of the tongue. Open your eyes, look at it long and hard. This is how he wants to be seen by the stupid world, so that the stupid world may recognise his own.

This is the Papacy of the XXI century. This is what Francis is doing to the Papacy.


Mario Palmaro’s Last Essay

Great to the end: Mario Palmaro.

In case you can keep your eyes dry – which won't be easy; but not strictly necessary, either – the Eponymous Flower has a translation of Mario Palmaro's last essay.

A few days before dying, this excellent man of God was still fighting for the Truth and the Church he loves. Grace in action to the end, I would call it without sounding like the sin of presumption.

The lucidity of this dying young man is a very Christian contrast to the confusion of healthy old men, like Bishop Francis and Cardinal Kasper, whose outer life hides a spiritual disease, and very possibly spiritual death.

You read Palmaro's essay and you see in all its brutality the contrast between a Church based on supernatural Truths, and the concept of Church as a vehicle for the satisfaction of human paying clients all too evident in Kaspar's thinking, and in Francis' very obvious endorsement of it.

Palmaro went to his Maker with his eyes firmly fixed on Jesus. Kaspar and Francis walk – for what we can see from their behaviour, and bar an always welcome repentance – towards hell with their gaze firmly set on this world, their popularity, and the social and sexual desires of their clients.

Pray for Mario Palmaro if you can, and for his loved ones. Do not indulge in easy V II automatic canonisation thinking. If he is in heaven – which I wish him with all my heart – your prayers will not go to waste anyway. If he isn't, you will help a great soul shorten his Purgatory.

I wish I could die with his chances of heaven, anyway. I doubt it will happen.



R.I.P. Mario Palmaro

I am informed that Mario Palmaro has died.

I have written about his and his colleague Alessandro Gnocchi’s brave stance for Catholicism.

At that point Palmaro, born 1968, was already very ill. You will remember that Francis called him on the phone. 

Mario Palmaro wrote a long, stellar article in January for the Nuova Bussola Quotidiana. Those of you who speak Spanish might be able to navigate through the article. [edit: Rorate Caeli had published a translation].  If memory serves, I did not comment on it because, notwithstanding having so many interesting ideas, it was closely linked with the Italian political landscape and made rich use of Italian imagery (football, or soccer, Coverciano and the like).

The entire article is absolutely excellent, but the worry of the father of a child of seven in a country now openly gradually “opening” to sodomy is very moving; particularly so, when coming from a man knowing he will soon not be able to make his best to provide for the necessary guidance. Obviously, Palmaro would not mention his impending death.

Let me mention and translate only one of the many stellar statements of this article: as some of you will know (now, but probably not back in January) Matteo Renzi is the rising Star of the Italian politics, and has just become the Primo Ministro.

Capisci, caro direttore? Fra poco prenderanno mio figlio di sette anni e a scuola lo metteranno a giocare con i preservativi e i suoi genitali, e la Chiesa di che cosa mi parla? Dei barconi che affondano a Lampedusa, di Gesù che era un profugo, di un oscuro gesuita del ‘600 appena beatificato. No, il mio problema non è Matteo Renzi.

“Do you understand, dear Editor? Soon they will take my seven years old child at school and they will make him play with condoms and his own genitals, and what does the Church talk to me about? Of the boats sinking in Lampedusa, of Jesus who was a refugee, of an obscure Jesuit of the XVII Century just beatified. No, my problem is not Matteo Renzi.

I have found the article and now link to it to its entirety as a small tribute to this great Catholic. 

He is now at the end of his battle. I am against the canonisation of the dead, so I will not give you any of that sugary stuff. Let me say that from what I have learnt of him, I would sign any time for his same chances of making it to Heaven, and would consider it a great privilege and a great improvement of my own chances to be allowed to do so.

Please pray for him, his family, and his little child.



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