There is an interesting, slightly awkward phenomena going around in traddy circles. Some people are beginning to think they are indeed more Catholic than the Pope. I think its a minority view but it is a worrying one and I was wondering if anyone else had come across it?
This Pope has made a couple of mistakes, but for a man under such white hot scrutiny it was inevitable. That he’s not a liturgical genius is beyond doubt. But being a liturgical genius is only one facet of being Pope, and I think this Pope is making a lot of very canny choices. The best of which by far is not getting imprisoned in the Papal apartments.
If this Pope is going to reform the Curia (for which I think he is perhaps one of the few, if not the only one at the last conclave who could have possibly stand a chance of success in this regard) he needs to keep himself surrounded by ordinary priests otherwise he’ll go mad with the papal court intrigues, plots, gossip and back biting. I think that’s what wore down Benedict to the point he decided to resign.
This Pope is saying a lot of the exact same things Benedict said, only this time, because of his charisma people are listening. This is a staggeringly impressive achievement and it doesn’t seem to be going away. Newspapers are still commenting on Francis’ every move in a way they decided not to with Benedict.
We had Benedict, he gave us the intellectual and liturgical foundation, that we should still treasure, but our religion needs to take us somewhere, at the end of the Mass we are sent out into the world, when has evangelisation not been a priority in the Church? It was during Benedict’s reign too, anyone else remember the ‘year’ of evangelisation or the ‘new’ evangelisation? but that’s perhaps besides the point. Maybe if we are told something often enough we might start to believe it?
Anyway it is too early to make any judgments about JP2 never mind Francis. We need to wait and see. I am somewhat dreading who he appoints to the department for divine worship, (please not be some abject liberal) but I think and hope Francis will not do that, because Francis likes to surprise and confound Catholics. He wants to wake us up and tell us that there is work to be done in the vineyard. I don’t think he will conform himself to the labels others try to force upon him just as Benedict defied the expectation by not being ‘God’s Rottweiler’.
Benedict will probably always be my favourite Pope, I converted under his reign. But many other people will have Francis as their favourite. Its important to notice that this doesn’t really matter. The factionalism that Francis abhors above all is a tragic reality at the moment, that their are voices of dissent in the church is especially tragic, but Catholicism isn’t primarily about following a Pope its about following Jesus. If the Pope starts teaching infallibly in error the Church will fold up in five minutes flat, but God has promised this will not happen and we can trust God to keep his word.