Grow Up, Francis!

A good friend, an Irish-Notre-Dame-cradle catholic, says “I still like this pope”. Despite the clue contained in that “still”, he seems mystified why anyone (like me) thinks the papacy (and the Church) took a nosedive when Benedict retired.

My own spiritual journey, leading to my now-two-year-old conversion, owed a great deal to Benedict XVI, and found me towards the end hung up on the problems of joining his successor’s church. I finally made it over that obstacle, but I came into the Church as a worried layman wondering why the current management seems so unworthy and unlike its predecessors.

My PF concerns do not entirely overlap with those of some of his conservative critics. The divorced/remarried communion issue is not mine. I am not divorced, and I certainly can understand why pastors do not want to confront their divorced/remarried parishioners with such a tough choice as no sex or no Eucharist. [I do think the church’s teaching errs by considering divorce as a matter between two adults (and God, of course), thereby making the same mistake as our courts do: treating the children as a collateral issue. In my view, divorce between childless adults is one thing, while divorce with children is wanton, cruel family destruction, a particularly hypocritical form of child abuse. But that does not make “Amoris Laetitia” a problem for me. I wrote about this in “Suffer the Little Children: Aquinas on Divorce“, below.]

His non-response to the sexual abuse crisis is another matter. I realize that his predecessors left much undone, and were certainly guilty of non-feasance at the least, in ridding the Church of sexual deviants of all stripes. While B XVI and JP II both fell short on this count, I find PF’s smug cronyism and vicious messenger-killing to be shameful beyond belief. Archbishop Vigano’s charges regarding Cardinal McCarrick are credible and damning; they deserve an answer. PF’s circles of disreputable cronies, like Maradiaga, Cupich, and (until recently) McCarrick, do nothing to restore confidence.

On so many issues, PF seems to be doing his best to lead the Church into a new age of feel-good non-dogmatic Anglicanism, replacing strong truths regarding God with an agenda that happens to mirror almost perfectly the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Hell? Probably not. Global Warming, oh my God yes!   Non-binary multi-gender sexual orientation? It’s complicated. Enforcement of border security against illegal immigration? It’s simple: walls are bad!  The Lord’s Prayer? I’m still working on it. Italy and Ireland voting on pro-abortion referendums? I’m too busy.

And, like many of those addressing us from the Moral High Ground (MHG), he can’t be bothered with details. “Welcome the illegal immigrants with open arms!” And what about the crime waves and cultural disintegration they often bring with them, your Holiness? No reply. “Carbon fuels are bad!” Should we be building nuclear power plants instead, your Holiness? No reply. “We must welcome our Muslim brothers!” And when they demand that we outlaw blasphemy (against Islam) and apostasy (conversion to Christianity), your Holiness? No reply.

In all fairness, the pope has more right to the MHG than most commentators (his predilection for airplane press conferences just makes the MHG higher.) But the MHG should carry with it some humility and acknowledgement that the folks in the trenches dealing with the problem may know something about it, too.

Catholics look to Rome for answers to theological and moral questions, not political or economic policy.  Left-wing politicians look to Rome for supportive sound bites.

He is even capable of the most shocking moral equivalency. When a French priest is murdered at the altar by a young Muslim screaming “Allahu Akhbar!”, PF says that “When we speak of Muslim terrorism we must also speak of Christian terrorism.” His spokesman calls the Communist Chinese government the best example of Catholic social teachings.   PF’s fondness for the Castro regime and its offspring approaches schoolgirl crush levels.

His modernism reeks of stale 1960’s clichés and poses. “Make a mess!”  “Shake off the past!”  “Question authority!”  “Youth will lead the way!”

He and the Church and the West are all getting too old for such cheap teenage rebellion.  Grow up, Francis!

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