Jonathan V. Last explains at The Weekly Standard why an ever increasing number of Catholics view this Pontificate as an unending train wreck:
Pope Francis has some interesting views about Catholic teachings, too. In January, he criticized Catholics who have what he considers too many children. “Some think, excuse me if I use the word, that in order to be good Catholics, we have to be like rabbits—but no,” he said. The push-back from within the Church was hard enough that the pope apologized a week later.
He has never apologized for criticizing Catholics whom he deems to be “obsessed” with abortion, contraception, and gay marriage:
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.
His message being . . . well, it’s not clear what, exactly. After all, in America, at least, the question of abortion seems somewhat important, since 55 million children have been killed in utero since 1973. And as for contraception and gay marriage, it is the U.S. government which is seeking to force its view of these regimes on the Catholic Church, and not the other way around. The pope’s position seems remarkably like blaming the victim.
As did his remarks following the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. Francis held forth saying, “Every religion has its dignity. I cannot mock a religion that respects human life and the human person.” And then he went somewhat further:
“If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” Francis said, throwing a pretend punch his way. “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.” . . .
“There are so many people who speak badly about religions or other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of others,” he said. “They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would happen to Dr. Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a limit.”
As you might expect, a week later the Vatican rushed yet another spokesman out to clarify the real meaning of the Holy Father’s words because he absolutely, positively, didn’t mean what he said. Or didn’t say what he meant.
Go here to read the rest. Last begins his article thusly:
It’s only been two and a half years since Francis assumed the chair of St. Peter, yet he’s already compiled an entire dossier’s worth of . . . interesting . . . incidents.
For instance, the Holy Father seems to have a habit of appearing to endorse all sorts of left-wing political causes. There was the time he posed with environmental activists holding an anti-fracking T-shirt. And the time he posed for pictures holding a crucifix made from a hammer and a sickle. And the time he held up a poster calling for the British to hand the Falkland Islands back to Argentina. In each instance, the official Vatican response has been to suggest that Francis didn’t mean to endorse anything because he’ll pretty much smile and pick up anything you hand him, like some sort of consecrated Ron Burgundy.
Menace or farce? In my more hopeful moments I tend to view this papacy as a divine practical joke, perhaps before God gets us down to business. In my less hopeful moments I fear that the acolytes of Francis might be right: God has given us the Pope we deserve.