Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What makes Pope popular (like Obama?), worries some conservative Catholics

"U.S.: Conservative Catholics not convinced by Bergoglio's approach" (Vatican Insider, October 15, 2013) details the reason why "Pope Francis’ communicative approach has caught many faithful and Catholic groups by surprise":

Puzzled by Pope Francis’ approach many conservative Catholics in the U.S. are doing what only recently seemed “unthinkable”. “They are openly questioning the pope”, The Washington Post reports.

“Behind the growing scepticism is the fear in some quarters that Francis’s all-embracing style and spontaneous speech, so open as it is to interpretation, are undoing decades of church efforts to speak clearly on Catholic teachings. Some conservatives also feel that the pope is undermining them at a time when they are already being sidelined by an increasingly secular culture,” The Washington Post writes.

Francis is “a remarkable man, no one would deny that,” Robert Royal, president of the D.C. think tank Faith & Reason says. “But I’m not sure if he cares about being accurate. He gets into an [evangelizing] dynamic with people and that seems to be the most important thing. . . . In some ways it makes people very anxious. If you do this, what’s the next thing?” Royal asks.

“In the past everything you heard from a pope was prepared or formally released. And that was intentional — not to say anything ad hoc. And it’s also intentional that this one does,” says Phil Lawler, editor of Catholic World News.
Then the article concludes, remarkably:
Gregory Popcak, a Catholic marriage counsellor in Ohio, was surprised when some couples started contesting what he said, quoting Francis. At first he felt frustrated and then ashamed. After some reflection and prayer, he saw himself as the prodigal son’s good brother, the good boy who stays in the background and obeys his father.

“People who left the Church, who hated the Church (and yes, hated and sometimes abused me for loving it), who wouldn’t give the Church a second glance were suddenly realizing that God loved them, that the Church welcomed them, and all I could do was feel bitter about it.” Popcak wrote about his reflections online, getting dozens of responses from people who share these same thoughts.
Our correspondent we keep on retainer from an Eastern city that knows how to keep its secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, comments:
Seriously? I thought the story was cut off, but that is how it ends. I am ashamed for this report. The Francis coverage very much parallels the Obama coverage. It is laughable in its one-sidedness. This is the vengeance of Vatican II with a warm and fuzzzy fury...
[Hat tip to JM]


c matt


Criticism of the HF's actions did not begin with Francis' pontificate. Peter himself was subject to it. I also recall certain actions of JP II being criticized from the right as well. BXVI did not seem to garner much criticism from the right (only perhaps for seeming to move too slow) but then he did not go around shooting off the cuff either. And, yes, why Francis is popular does raise some concerns. He seems to be popular b/c he does not challenge people's erroneous ideas on faith and morals (at least not consistently) so he does seem to be liked for the wrong reasons. He seems to be working a sort of bait and switch for those on the left. He certainly has presented the bait. I hope he follows through on the switch.

I am not Spartacus


Were we to learn that the Bishop of Rome had accepted an invitation to participate in Celebrity Jeopardy we soi disant Traditionalists would not be surprised whereas the Girondists in the Catholic Conservative Collective would support the Bishop of Rome (does he think Primus inter pares a designation too arrogant?) and point-out that any of his winnings would be donated to the charity of his choice (UNICEF?) and the well-read Baron of the Brick By Brick Bund would suggest his readers purchase some of his swag (perhaps popcorn produced by Wyoming Monks?) and pledge to match the Bishop of Rome's winnings.

Patheos would publish a column by Jimmy Akin, Ten Things You Should Know Why A Pope Appearing On Jeopardy Is No Big Deal and Mark Shea would publish a wish list of potential questions that would include, naturally, a question concerning the likelihood of Chick Cardinals and Simcha Fisher would observe that in Hollywood there are many Jews and so any objections by the Traditionalists that the Pope accepted an invitation to appear on Celebrity Jeopardy would be a clear sign of anti-semitism.

IVE info blog


Right... All these ambiguous off the cuff remarks are going to drive up church attendance - just like Vatican II did.

Pertinacious Papist


c matt,

I'm waiting for the "switch" as well, after the "bait" on the left, if that's what it is. Likewise, I hope the wait isn't too long, or that it's wishful thinking.

As to the criticism of popes beginning with criticisms of St. Peter, I'm trying to remember those occasions when he wasn't criticized for doing something bad, like betraying our Lord, or feigning scruples about eating with gentiles in Antioch.

The occasions I can think of when Pope Peter was criticized for doing something good, like preaching the Gospel when forbidden (because "we must obey God rather than men"), he was criticized by secular or religious authorities hostile to Christ and His Gospel, and, by association, hostile to Peter for his faith in Christ.

Aren't the criticisms our current Holy Father is getting from concerned conservative Catholic faithful a bit different from the latter? A mere detail, perhaps, but worthy of note.