PopeWatch: Boss

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Damian Thompson at The Spectator notes that many of the clerics working at the Vatican are not friends of Pope Francis;

 

Again, this is an opponent speaking. There is no evidence that the Pope is mentally ill. However, plenty of Vatican employees will testify to his outbursts of temper, rudeness towards subordinates and vulgar language.

He can also be genial, funny and compassionate. But this side of his personality is increasingly reserved for his inner circle and his allies.

All popes have inner circles, it goes without saying. What distinguishes Francis from his recent predecessors is the nature of the alliances he forms. He is far more brutal in the exercise of his power than, say, Pope John Paul II, who certainly had an authoritarian streak in him.

‘Bergoglio divides the church into those who are with him and those who are against him — and if he thinks you’re in the latter camp then he’ll come after you,’ says a priest who works in the curia.

 

‘Bergoglio’, note: he doesn’t even call him ‘Francis’. Tellingly, this priest used to be a fervent supporter of some of the Pope’s administrative reforms and he doesn’t look back nostalgically at the reign of Benedict, whom he blames for neglecting his papal duties.

But, like so many Vatican employees, he’s sick of Francis’s habit of telling the entire Roman curia that they are modern-day Pharisees — an analogy that casts the Argentinian pontiff in the role of Jesus.

Clearly Francis believes that relaxing the rules on communion for Catholics in irregular marriages is an act of Christlike compassion. This is also the view of the venerable liberal cardinals who campaigned to elect him. It is often said that he is enacting their agenda — and it’s true that Francis is well disposed to liberal demands for women deacons and married priests.

He is not, however, their instrument. In the words of a Vatican observer who held an important position in Rome for many years, ‘He hasn’t taken on the old progressive mantle so much as created his own personality cult.’ Theological niceties bore him. Personal loyalty obsesses him — ‘and if the cardinal electors had done due diligence they would have discovered that he was an extraordinarily divisive figure among the Argentinian Jesuits’.

It’s not hard to detect a Latin American flavour to the deal-making and settling of scores that has become blatant over the past year. Most Catholic bishops had thought Francis was a plain-spoken and perhaps touchingly naive reformer. Instead, they are confronted by a pope who is simultaneously combative, charming, bad-tempered, idealistic and vengeful.

Does that remind you of anyone? The Trump-Francis analogy has been doing the rounds in Rome for months, and not just among the Pope’s opponents.

‘It’s not meant entirely seriously,’ says a well-placed source. ‘No one is suggesting that Jorge Bergoglio is tempted by the same sins of the flesh as Donald Trump.

‘And there’s another difference. The Americans can kick out their old rogue after four years. Francis doesn’t have to stand for re-election by the conclave. Which, believe me, is lucky for him, because after the misery and nonsense of the past couple of years he’d be eliminated in the first ballot.’

 

Go here to read the rest.

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13 Comments

  1. “[P]lenty of Vatican employees will testify to his outbursts of temper, rudeness towards subordinates and vulgar language.”
    .
    Am I wrong in my observation that the above describes liberals fairly well in general? I do have one liberal friend who is not like that, though she is a bit feisty and combatative. My other liberal friend used to shock me with his two sided personality-genial one minute, vulgar name-caller the next. The latter is what I seem to see in and on the news.

  2. Reading this and reading the previous article by Fr. Schall (and all the other good thinkers who share) just makes me want to kneel with Jesus on this sharp rocky ground of the present as I pray the Rosary…The Agony in the Garden…

  3. There’s nothing wrong with authoritarian administrators and they are generally free of certain shortcomings (such as a tendency to make the convenience or sensibilities of employees the priority in running an office, rather then getting the work done). The description of Francis sounds like incompetent administrators I’ve worked for. Outbursts of temper, disciplinary letters and evaluations which are nonsensical, pointless meetings.

  4. “Clearly Francis believes that relaxing the rules on communion for Catholics in irregular marriages is an act of Christlike compassion. This is also the view of the venerable liberal cardinals who campaigned to elect him. It is often said that he is enacting their agenda — and it’s true that Francis is well disposed to liberal demands for women deacons and married priests”
    Francis is trying to loosen on earth what is bound in heaven. Something even God will not do as God does not contradict Himself. It must be very frustrating and disconcerting to be trying to do the impossible. Only death can undo a Sacramental marriage on earth. All persons called to Holy Orders must have vocations to the priesthood. Married priests cannot be ordained as bishops and women deacons cannot be raised to Holy Orders. Without a vocation an individual pursuing priesthood may be in danger of losing his soul.

  5. The Bible talks a lot about the fear of God. One phrase that occurs several times in the Bible is “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”

    My conclusion after observing leaders in both the civil government and in the Church’s government is that leaders can be put into two approximate categories:
    (1) Those who truly fear the LORD God Almighty, and
    (2) Those who do not truly fear the LORD God Almighty.

    For those who fear the LORD there are certain lines that they just will NOT cross, even they are confident that no human power will punish them for crossing the line, and even if crossing the line will serve as a means to the accomplishment of something truly great for themselves and some others.

    By contrast, those who do not really fear the LORD (even if they make a pretense of it), they will cross any and all lines, being constrained only by what human powers might be able to punish them for. These no-fear-of-the-LORD people are motivated only by having their personal greatness proven and acclaimed in the world over and over again.

  6. Actually the politician it sounds most like isn’t Donald J. Trump as much as Hilary Rodham Clinton.

    And his other verbal issues suggest he is taking psychiatric medicines. Specifically, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. SSRIs don’t improve your overall mood as much as they increase your impulsivity.

  7. I think we can all agree that His Holiness demonstrates a strange form of holiness with his outbursts, personal vendettas, and foul language. It will be interesting to see how, when the time comes, his sainthood will be rationalized.

    There must be some purpose to all of this but only God knows what it is.

  8. DJH-
    it describes most people when something that is obviously true is challenged by someone who should obviously realize how true it is, especially if they go about arguing for something totally off the wall wrong.
    Heck, even Jesus did it with the money changers.
    The big problem being when something is not only not obviously right, but possibly even totally wrong….. (which is why it sounds so much like liberals)

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