Faithful English pastor Fr. Ray Blake was identified in the blogosphere as a target of some pressure since he was silent for an extended period on his very sophisticated website. Fr. Blake is often critical, in a brilliant yet indirect and qualified way, of some of the faithless initiatives of FrancisChurch. When Father returned after his hiatus to condemn mafia-like tactics in the Church, a reader noted that it is likely the Pope was behind them to an extent. To this Father responded that ‘nothing Francis has said’ would indicate that, then he blasted the commenter for libelous talk.
Message: I’ll do the judgment making, the discerning, and the risk-taking. You just do the listening, layman.
This is the kind of thing that happens in Mafia-like wards too. Father’s readers understand this. They know that he now has lied and compromised his principles in order to protect himself. After all it’s true, he is the one who has taken the risk and is receiving the pressure, not the readers. They are under no threats or correction from anyone in this situation, while it is likely he is.
Nevertheless, the fault stands. A faithful resistance cannot be built upon half-measures, arrogance, lies, and capitulation. It simply won’t work.
And this isn’t unique. All of our heroes seem to lay down when the Francis-boom lands. (That must be what the nuBenedict means when he says Francis is a good governor?) We have similar problems in the faithful U.S. media too. We scuttle out like mice or little puppies to do our damage, then run hiding when the man comes around. It’s really a money issue. However, the money behind FrancisChurch hurts a lot worse than a rolled-up newspaper.
I’m hearing lately that we need to stifle these bubbling doubts about Francis actually being the pope. Ann Barnhardt maintains that he is an anti-pope since he resigned under an erronious dual-pope understanding. Benedict felt that he would continue as sort of a contemplative co-pope, therefore his abdication is invalid. Louie Verrecchio and Antonio Socci both make the same case without coming to final conclusions. There is also the issue of pressure, something which would naturally be hard to clearly prove. Finally, there’s that St. Gallen group: the existence of an illegal and organized movement of cardinals to install Francis prior to and outside the conclave.
All of these considerations have merit. As Cardinal Brandmuller has reminded, the situation is unprecedented and rife with problems. I do not think it helps to carelessly toss these questions off as disobedient, uncatholic, or hysterical. It’s worse to pretend they don’t matter at all and that we should just get past them. As with Fr. Blake’s readers, the faithful understand when they’re being corralled and of course, though we are sheep in the Lord’s flock, we are still nonetheless men.
‘Sure, ‘maybe’ Francis is a heretic but that’s happened before, and it’s not for us to say.’ We get this message often too. How many ‘maybes’ must we suffer through? Hundreds of years ago a pope was deposed for the heresy of permitting a nation to select it’s own bishops. That’s good, but what we have here today is about 186 times worse. At what point may we make a conclusion of our own about the situation? Should we wait until gay sex is a sacrament, or continue to pray and be docile?
My position on the abdication has always been the same. Benedict appears to have left under pressure but it’s a difficult thing to prove. The most powerful indicators are the fact that a worldly prince and a heretic was selected to follow him, and that he appears to be under some type of confinement and control today. Francis is the kind of man who would follow a putsch, and this nuBenedict we keep seeing via third party does not sound anything like himself. Instead he seems poorly scripted, muddled, and much more like Tucho Fernandez than Ratzinger.
“Your friendship is the air that I breathe and in which I live?” Wasn’t it something like that the Emeritus said to the Francis on his 65th anniversary?
Whether Benedict was forced out or his abdication invalidated for any other reason, a fact I believe is not unlikely, it’s not the most important thing when it comes to the papacy today. The main issue is that Francis has clearly demonstrated his heresy, and as faithful laymen it is our responsibility to call for his abdication. He is not able to defend the faith, priesthood, or Sacraments, or to canonize saints, or do any of the things absolutely necessary to preserve the Church. It doesn’t matter whether he’s pope or not. He should not be pope. He has shown us he is, in fact, incapable of it.
While we continue to resist the faithless wreckage of FrancisChurch, I put the onus on those who know for certain that Francis is pope to prove it. I don’t advocate calling Francis an anti-pope, but I don’t see any reason to pretend that it couldn’t be the case.
As a compromise, it might be better for Francis to do what Benedict did: retreat to pray for humanity as a contemplative papal element, where he can give gushing interviews and bask in the friendship of an actual Catholic pope.
Wait. I guess that would be ridiculous.