It is now around five months to what will probably go down in Church History as one of the most calamitous events ever, and there can be no doubt whatsoever where Francis wants to lead the Church: in a world where sound doctrine is paid lip service whilst the praxis contradicts it at every step: in the sacraments, in sexual morality, in social and economic matters, and in everything that does not conform to the times, or to the expectation of the secularised masses.
It is grave enough that sacrilege will be officially opened the door of the Church – in “special situations” that will immediately become the norm in large parts of the West – and the Sacraments made a mockery of. But you must also wonder whether this Pope will stop there. No, he won't.
After the communion for adulterers we will have the communion for sodomites; everything will be “celebrated”; nothing and no one will ever be “judged”; apart from Capitalism, and a banker or two.
The floodgates are about to open, and to throw a huge wave of mud on the Bride of Christ. What are we, as bloggers, doing to, at least, do our part to prevent it?
Reading around, my answer would be: not nearly enough. There is, it seems to me, the danger of the usual situation by which the initial attitude is “let's wait what happens, and let us not be divisive “; and after it has happened the attitude will be “well, now it has happened. Let us not be divisive”.
On the contrary, say I. Let us not wait what happens, and let us be divisive.
It is clear enough, what is happening: Francis is paving the way for a full-scale Modernist attack on the Church. He thinks, speaks and act like a Modernist because he is one of them. It is very clear that to him everything can be changed, if the “Spirit” – that is, himself – says so.
How can we, then, react to this to the best of our ability? My answer is simple: sound the alarm now, strongly and insistently. And do not refrain from exposing the man for what he is: a danger for Catholicism, a sower of confusion, and a buffoon.
The Synod is already happening. As I write this, we are all being “groomed” for the novelties to come. Novelties which now shock many faithful, but in five months' time will come to be seen as “inevitable”, or “a long time in the making”. Francis is already at it full-time, and many prelates are already following him. It's happening now, and we must shout our opposition now instead of waiting for the tragedy to happen.
It does not make sense to think “it will not be so bad”. Unless there is a huge uproar, or an extraordinary intervention of the Holy Spirit, it will be so bad! Can't you see how Francis becomes bolder with every passing month? When you see huge scandal in the making, do you speak against it or do you think “oh well, the Holy Ghooost is guiding the Chuuuurch for the beeest” like an old Pollyanna?
We can't give this Pope any slack, because he has not deserved any. If anything, he has made very clear there is no monstrosity he would not put into place, if he could. With his blabbering about not closing the door to the “Spirit” he has, once and for all, thrown away the mask. The Modernist machine is now working full steam, and we must not allow this and him to go unpunished – yes, unpunished – because he is the Pope. Yes, he is the Pope. Which is why the situation is so grave, why he is so gravely culpable, and why we must see him as the worst enemy of Catholicism.
Corruptio optimi pessima. Francis is certainly not optimus for any particular virtue of him – which he does not have -, but because of the absolute preeminence of his earthly position. A Pope sabotaging Catholicism every day is what the Germans call GAU, Größter Anzunehmender Unfall or the worst possible (nuclear) catastrophe; and the nuclear plants that gave rise to the expression are very fitting for our situation, because a huge accident is about to happen in the Vatican Power Station, and mad or evil men have taken control of it.
Francis is a popularity addict. His religion is himself first, Socialism second, himself third and fourth, and Christianity nowhere. What to do?
Mock him, ridicule him, let him drown in a sea of laughter and scandal. This is what is most likely, or least unlikely, to stop him or at least put a brake on his devastation. If every day thousands of Catholic blogs were to openly ridicule Francis, this would have two very salutary effects: it would show Francis he is the Kasperle (how fitting) of the sound Catholic world, and it would contribute to cure a large part of the Catholic masses from the Papolatry that has afflicted the Church for so many decades now. In time, the phenomenon would be registered by the mass media. At that point, Francis would have failed, and he would stay there like the old dangerous or evil nincompoop he truly, truly is.
This is not your usual Pope, to which the usual rules of utter deference apply. This here is a new breed of Pope. If bad Popes of the past were orks, Francis is a Uruk-hai, and he will get away with absolutely everything – on this earth at least – unless we react to this new threat in a way proportionate to it.
We are, as I have already written, at the point that Francis has brought such disrepute to the office, that to criticise the man is the only way to defend the office. Ridicule him, so that the contrast with a decent Papacy and his predecessors may become more evident. Mock him, so that his delirious novelty may be discounted before he even opens his mouth. Make of him a laughing stock, so that you will hit him where he is hurt most effectively: in his boundless vanity.
The past should, in this, be our guidance. Faced with an unprecedented threat, St. Athanasius – and, if memory serves, St. Eusebius too – began to autonomously appoint bishops. That, my friends, is a tad more extreme than calling a clown a clown. But Athanasius knew the situation was too grave to waste time wondering whether he would be accused of “schism”.
Christ here. Liberius there. This is all Athanasius needed to know.
Do not be afraid that, if we do so – if we start to become openly dismissive and mocking of Francis – he will dismiss his critics and everyone who is vaguely orthodox as “the baddies”. He does it already! All the time! Let him, then! Let him accuse his critics of “gossiping”! Sound people will see through his lies and, in time, they will grow in number.
Imagine Francis getting up in the morning and knowing he wil be the laughing stock of thousands of demonstrably orthodox Catholics bloggers, read by millions of readers. It would soon spread to the newspapers, and from them to the general consciousness. It would soon destroy his credibility by every thinking person.
The first Pope who is so bad, that Catholics mock him. How's that for a business card?
Enough with pretending this is a somewhat naive pastor, or an innocent province priest desirous to serve the Church. This is a wolf in ship's clothing, his religion is social justice, and his Trinity is Me, Myself and I.
Wake up to reality, take the sword, and react to this in the only way we can.
When talking of enemies, there is a rather well-known phrase in Italy: una risata li seppellira', or “one laughter will bury them”. I always thought this phrase very apposite, then after real weapons nothing is more effective than ridicule. Particularly so, when the hearts and minds of countless distracted or poorly instructed Catholics is at stake.
Wake up to the reality of this Pope. No more Mr Nice Blogger. It's time to get to the keyboard, and start using it like a sword.
The latest initiative taken by Francis for Lent is certainly laudable. In Rome and elsewhere, a special effort will be made, keeping some churches open in the evening and providing for confession opportunities at that late hour. A beautiful way to remind the faithful of the Sacrament of Confession, and to encourage them to avail themselves of it in this Lenten time.
Unfortunately, this being Francis-The-Bishop-of-Rome the initiative is diluted by the usual, exaggerated expectation for mercy. Therefore, with one corner of his mouth Francis tells you that it is good to go to Confession, whilst with the other he implies that God's inexhaustible mercy doesn't make it necessary; because hey, if you have good will and follow your conscience you will be just fine.
In this, I notice once again the “layer Church” so evident in this year of Pontificate: one layer is the traditional Catholic teaching to which Francis must, being the Pope, pay some sort of lip service. The other layer is the new homemade religion Francis concocted for himself instead of providing himself with a solid Catholic education; this is the religion in which faith is not necessary for salvation because conscience saves, sodomite priests are not to be judged, God slaps one in the wrist at most, being a good Catholic who follows the rules makes one suspicious, and counting your rosaries makes one positively ridiculous, Neo-Pelagian and a lot of other things, none of them positive.
My suspicion is that the former layer comes mainly from his advisors, who suggest to him that he does something Catholic for a change; whilst the latter is obviously the fruit of Francis' decade-long neglect for basic Catholicism and its substitution for a vaguely resentful, and more than vaguely dirty, social gospel.
Francis wasn't born a genius, but like every Modernist he understands if he wants to spread his own gospel – the gospel that makes him so popular among people without the least intention of converting to Catholic values – he must also play the Catholic pope every now and then, and affirm today what he has happily denied yesterday. This latest Confession initiative is just the most recent example: conscience saves, but please go to confession, it's good for the blood pressure.
The antidote for Francis' poison is very simple: we must make an extra effort of learning of sound Catholic teaching; so that every time Francis speaks we may easily recognise what is legitimate Catholicism and what is homemade “Che” religion. It is not really difficult, because Francis' love for headlines and novelty will allow a properly instructed Catholic to almost instantly recognise those concept sounding “off”.
I can at least see no other way we can react to this than by making Francis' antics work for us – in that we use them to root ourselves deeper in the Truth – rather than against us.
Many others will be confused by Francis' Layer Church. But you, dear reader, who are more Catholic than that, will see the danger and instruct others in the proper way to eat it; discarding the mix of sugar and poison Francis has put on top of it; but for heaven's sake, without throwing away the entire cake.
I seem to notice that with the election of the new Bishop of Rome, The Humble Francis, and with the alarming increase in modernist antics among his prelates, a new sport has developed. This new blogging discipline consists in denying an even bigger evil than the one Francis & Co. are accused of, as if this were evidence of the falseness of the accusations.
So, we read here or there that such and such defrocked priest is still defrocked. Well of course he is, it is not that priests are easily “refrocked”, nor has anyone accused Francis of wanting to reintegrate in their priestly functions all the nutcases who have been kicked out in the last years. Please note that in order to be kicked out from the priesthood one needs to have been an obvious madman for many years, and nothing else will do (unless, perhaps, one is a Traditionalist). As it is, scores of Jesuits and assorted idiots can happily promote sodomy year in and year out, and they live and die as priests in good standing (Father Gallo docet). In short, to say that Francis isn't a raving lunatic proves absolutely nothing as to his not being an utter and complete disgrace.
The same mechanism is at work when Francis does something very stupid, or worse. Yes, he can baptise the child of concubines, but honestly I struggle to remember one single article or blog post that claimed he is not allowed to do it. The gravity of what he did lies, for the umpteenth time in his still young pontificate, in the implicit but still very loud message he sends with his gesture, not in a matter of Canon Law.
The latter, though, even applies to his liturgical abuse on Maundy Thursday 2013. Again: whilst he is the Pope and has, therefore, the factual power to avoid sanctions if he breaches the rules, the fact remains that the rules are there to be followed and the Pontiff, the First of the Servants, should also feel the first obliged to do so. Still, the same observation was made on this occasion: he can, so where's your problem.
The same has happened again with the most recent antics of Cardinal O'Malley. No, he wasn't baptised “again” and he knew that; but certainly, his gesture gives to external observers – particularly if casual ones; the well instructed ones cannot but be scandalised – the impression that there is no difference, or no real one, between being a Catholic and a Protestant. How stupid were, then, all those who have died or have suffered horrible persecutions for the One True Church, and how intolerant was Jesus to found only One Church, as if Catholics thought they possess… the Truth!
Every time, the neocon “nothing to see here” crowd tries to persuade us that everything is normal because the Cardinal has not openly apostatised, the Bishop of Rome can commit liturgical abuses without being censored by anyone, and he can obviously baptise the baby of concubines if he believes – or at least this is the rule – that there is a grounded hope that the baby will receive a Catholic education. But this is just not the point. This is like grounding one's idea that Hitler was fine on the fact that he was never known to chew the arms of little Jewish children, or to drink their blood.
It should be clear to every blogger and Catholic journalist that the Church is, even in Her current miserable shape, still a formidable opponent for everyone who want to openly, formally, challenge and demolish Her tenets; and that therefore every open challenge to Her must perforce occur in a way that, at least in the form, does not openly deny the received truth. She is not the Labour Party, that can be transformed in something radically different just by way of a Congress; or the Italian Communist Party, that can decide to switch allegiance from the Warsaw Pact to the NATO literally overnight. Everyone who wants to play Che Guevara with the Church will have to make his revolution – what he can do of it – according to certain rules.
The gravity of the words and acts both of Francis and of his prelates must be measured accordingly.
Father Ray Blake has, as so often, perceptive considerations about careerism in the Church; careerism fuelled by the “expectation” of a red hat for certain prestigious dioceses, and the custom to move bishops from A to B to C as their, erm, career proceeds.
If the system were to be frozen, a bishop would know that it is highly probable he will remain in his diocese for a long time; this would in turn allow him to start a long-term work of re-shaping of his own diocese. He wouldn't be allowed to see his diocese as a “station” towards more prestigious appointments, and would not be motivated to ingratiate himself to the press or the powers that be and appear just the ticket for the next big diocese in need of an appointment. Incidentally, if he is bad this would undoubtedly be seen in the figures concerning vocations, conversion and co. and said bishop wouldn't have anywhere to hide, nor would he be allowed to move elsewhere and endanger a bigger or more prestigious diocese (Peter Smith comes to mind; or our own Vincent “Quisling” Nichols). The contrast in results between the good bishops, those who make an excellent work in their diocese, and the Nichols would be brutal. Then, the one or other bishop could be gently pushed elsewhere for manifest incapacity; but ending down, not up.
The problem with this system is, I think, that it would work. No more easy favours for the friends of the friends; no more opportunities to hide one own's incompetence claiming lack of time to do a proper job; no more trendy prelates guffawing around in desperate search of a camera. Bad times all around.
Plus, as the conservative dioceses tend to regularly fare better than the trendy ones in vocations etc, this system would lead to conservative bishops systematically rising to preeminence; a preeminence earned by good and hard work and not by networking and by appointment.
Meritocracy? God forbid! What would happen of the trendy crowd? That would, one day, be the end of…. gasp…. Vatican II! No, this certainly can't be allowed, will our men in black, purple and red think; let us rather build fully unrecognisable “trendy” churches; let us follow the crowd on social and environmental issues; let us waste money in stupid modern art exercises; and let's be overtly or covertly approving of same-sex unions, even those of us who don't wear stilettos in private. The Church will be damaged and countless souls will get lost, but who cares…
We'll be so popular; and if you, my dear Father Smart, can say the right things and mix with the right crowd, one day the diocese will arrive for you, too.