My hat is off to Elizabeth Scalia for some of the excellent points she makes in this post.
It seems to me that more than a few Catholics (media types in particular) have been relishing in their enlightened understanding of Pope Francis’ media blitz with few harsh words for those faithful Catholics not quite on the bandwagon.
I will not take much from her piece because it is worth reading in its entirety, but this snippet will give you some insight.
My point is that its no good “getting” Francis if all we derive of it is a satisfaction of the intellect, a sense of papal validation, and that dreadful by-product of hipness that such validation confers. If we have previously decried smug triumphalism, it will sting when we look into the mirror and find ourselves become smug triumphalists. And all that I hate I am become.
Put more bluntly, we who “get” Francis, it is worth asking ourselves the question: are you loving Francis because of what you are learning from him, or simply because you perceive him to be “sticking it to” people you haven’t liked much for the past decade or so? A little of both?
The Pope, to his credit, has repeatedly made the point about turning the Church’s gaze from its own navel to a hurting world. Yet, there has been a lot of inside baseball writing and score settling going on.
Perhaps turning our gaze is a process and this bloodletting is a natural first step, but I am already a little frustrated with it.
That’s all right. These things gotta happen every five years or so, ten years. Helps to get rid of the bad blood. Been ten years since the last one. You know, you gotta stop them at the beginning. Like they should have stopped Hitler at Munich, they should never let him get away with that, they was just asking for trouble. –The Godfather
It seems that the cottage industry of interpreting and explaining Francis is growing at such a pace that it must soon be exempted from Obamacare, or it would be if it weren’t a Catholic thing. And among the interpreters there is a new class of Oracles, given special agency to interpret the daily papal off-the-cuffisms. Any party that wrangles with topics such as prudence or continuity are quickly branded and marginalized.
None of this is helpful and none of it is actually what the Pope is asking for. “Who am I to judge? Unless of course you express reservations, then we can get all kinds of judgey on you cause that is what the Pope really wants.”
I am confident that the Pope will become more media circumspect over time and focus his efforts on the curia. But the relationships damaged in this Al Capone style inside baseball batting will leave scars.
The Papacy and the Church will survive no matter where you fall on the Papal approval scale, of this there is no doubt. I am not so sure the same can be said for the communion of struggling saints.