Thursday, November 13, 2014

“We are less vindictive and less short-sighted than our pope!”

So, “Pope Francis” is both vindictive and short-sighted. That’s the verdict of at least one US-based priest, (who’s garnered a large audience of “conservative Catholics” in National Review), writing on the topic of “the demotion of Cardinal Burke”.

But this priest suggests he’s not alone: “the priests and bishops ordained since Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict have nothing in common with the bell-bottomed theology that, at least for a season, has been revived in Rome.”

The problem is, these are the kinds of folks who elected “Pope Francis” in the first place. There are more “bell-bottoms” under those bishops’ robes than he thinks.

Benedict Kiely, who is “pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Stowe, Vt., and director of continuing education for clergy in the Diocese of Burlington”, has chimed in on the commentary following the recent “Synod on the Family” with an article published in National Review entitled “The Pope’s Unforced Error”.

Note the degree to which a Roman Catholic priest takes liberty to speak openly about this pope, and the perceived damage he is causing:

Despite the image of Francis as a man of dialogue and compromise, he is regarded in Rome as the most authoritarian pope in decades. He is also a man known to settle scores. Immediately after his election as pope, he swiftly moved an Argentinian bishop known to have been his chief opponent when he was archbishop of Buenos Aires — another “downward” promotion — transferring him to an obscure position in the Vatican bureaucracy. In the space of just over two years, Pope Bergoglio has been removing, or not reappointing, many of the key men put in place by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.

Yet Burke stayed on as the “pope’s judge,” not least because he was seen by many as the most able man for the job. Meanwhile, Vatican watchers noted that he was the most senior figure to keep his position but not be confirmed in it by Pope Francis. Even Cardinal Burke’s enemies — and he has many, and they are all ideological — admit that he is exceptional in that he has never evinced ambition for higher office. But Francis brooks no opposition, so Burke had to go.

His crimes? Burke upholds traditional Biblical teaching on marriage and encourages devotion to the traditional Latin Mass...
But perhaps Cardinal Burke’s most glaring offense was that he declared that Catholic politicians who support abortion should be refused Communion.

Maybe that last paragraph there is just speculation. But even so, Burke did say that “the Church” is “rudderless” under “Pope Francis”. Now, according to Kiely, the authoritarian nature of this pope, and his “settling of scores” – will perhaps lead to the unintended consequence that Burke, freed from any significant “official” duties, can become a focal point, even a rallying cry, for conservative Catholicism. “Remember the Alamo”. He hopes:

that Burke in his new position will enjoy a freedom that until now he did not have. He will be able to travel and to celebrate the ancient Mass all over the world. He can lecture, preach, and write. And the Knights of Malta are not, as left-leaning devotees of liberation theology might believe, relics from a Dan Brown novel. Not only are their ranks filled with members of the aristocracy from every nation on earth but, far more significantly, the newer members are often wealthy and influential figures in industry, politics, and the media. The Knights — and Dames — of Malta run hospitals and charitable organizations throughout the world. Their annual pilgrimage with the sick and handicapped to Lourdes is one of the largest the shrine sees. The men and women admitted to the Sovereign Order of Malta, a state that issues passports, are devout Catholics, who both love their faith and act with generosity and commitment. It is this highly influential arm of the Church that Cardinal Burke has been “demoted” to lead.

So now, “the good Catholics” will arise, he thinks. All of this seems speculative to me. It is “the priests and bishops ordained since Saint John Paul II and Pope Benedict” who have put “Pope Francis” where he is.

Another hopeful speculation:

Some have speculated that Pope Francis, who turns 78 next month, will follow the example of his predecessor and eventually step down from the Petrine office, perhaps at age 80. In any case, Raymond Burke will likely be a significant figure at the conclave to elect his successor, and already some observers are predicting that the courtiers’ foe will end up as the next king.

The unspoken hope here is not that “Pope Francis” will “retire”, but that he will die. That’s the main reason why there has to be an election for a “successor”. Of course, that’s the barely-veiled hope of “conservative Catholics”, who are less vindictive and less short-sighted than their pope. (In Roman Catholicism, this is a bragging point. But see 1 Cor 1:29.)

But Bergoglio knew that there are other vindictive sorts in the Vatican – “good Catholics” one and all – that’s why he chose to stay in the crew’s quarters, and not in the palace.


  1. It's almost a truism that liberalism tends to breed ideological totalitarianism. I wonder why the most "open minded" liberals are simultaneously the most close minded demagogues when it comes to their particular flavor of liberal ideology.

    It's a pathology and an irony.

    1. CR, It's ongoing evidence of the doctrine of depravity.