PopeWatch was started because of lack of information about Pope Francis and the often confusing utterances he made. It was hoped by PopeWatch that day to day examination of the acts and words of the Pope would lead to greater clarity about him. Judging from Father Z, after more than a year and a half as Pope, Pope Francis is still confusing many Catholics:
There are times when I have listened to Pope Francis or have read what he has said, and I am left scratching my head.
I have stated here quite a few times that, sometimes, I have no idea what he is talking about or to whom he is addressing himself.
Apparently I’m not alone.
At Hell’s Bible there is an article about the USCCB meeting. HERE
Francis Card. George of Chicago, a seriously smart guy, has the same questions.
“He says wonderful things,” Cardinal George said about Francis in an interview on Sunday, “but he doesn’t put them together all the time, so you’re left at times puzzling over what his intention is. What he says is clear enough, but what does he want us to do?”
Cardinal George, who is 77 and being treated for cancer, remains a voting cardinal until age 80 and says he would like to travel to Rome to see Francis: “I’d like to sit down with him and say, Holy Father, first of all, thank you for letting me retire. And could I ask you a few questions about your intentions?”
If even Card. George is sometimes puzzled, I feel somewhat confirmed.
When I have asked Argentinians about Francis, I have been told that they often express themselves with hyperbole. I don’t know how much stock to put in that generalization, but… hey….
Go here to read the comments which are intriguing, especially these two:
Francis is a Jesuit, meaning he says what he thinks a particular group of people want or need to hear at a particular moment in time in order to induct them gradually into the truth (as he sees and understands it), or at least in order to keep them from running away from the truth. Very often the demands of the groups he is speaking to are radically different, so he says radically different (even seemingly contradictory) things. Hence he can say, with all sincerity and without intentional dishonesty, to LCWR-style nuns that they should just ignore the CDF’s pronouncements, while insisting on absolute obedience from the FFI. Hence he can, in one speech, criticize “do-gooder” progressives while aggressively promoting both them personally and their agenda generally, and constantly sidelining their enemies and resolving judgments in their favor. Hence he can announce, in his list of suggestions for happiness in life, tell people to “stop being negative,” while in his daily Mass homilies issue forth a ceaseless stream of bile against his own flock (who are today gossips, yesterday neo-Pagans, the day before that Pelagians, and so on). He says what people want to hear so that they will love him personally, because this is what incarnating the Gospel means to him: loving particular persons, not bloodless abstractions.
In practice this means that Francis’ words are effectively meaningless: he uses them as weapons, not to relay concepts; hence you can learn nothing about the man by listening to him talk. You need to look at his actions instead, which as the saying goes speaks louder than words. What does Francis actually DO?
I would go a little farther even and say that you need to look at what Francis HAS DONE — because he is of course going to bring the model by which he governed Buenos Aires to the universal Church. His model in Buenos Aires was clearly to have a large, inclusive, nonjudgmental Church, in contrast to Benedict’s expectation of a smaller, purer Church. Hence he was perfectly happy to tolerate degenerate slum-priests shacking up with women (or worse) so long as they ministered to the poor. Hence he was perfectly willing to instruct them to disregard canon law and administer communion to people regardless of their state in life. Hence he insisted on these things even as his flock went into schism in horrifying numbers and vocations to the diocesan priesthood collapsed.
Francis is simply not that confusing of a Pope if you have eyes to see. He has said before that he is the first Pope who has the vision truly to implement Vatican II, and he says this because, having largely been formed during and after Vatican II, he is in thrall to the “spirit” of it. It’s not that he imagines that it is discontinuous with the past, it’s that he doesn’t care: to him, Vatican II inaugurated a whole new paradigm for thinking about and living the faith, and questions of “continuity” concern things which are alien to that paradigm.
That is the model he is working to bring to the universal Church, and which he will bring unless faithful Catholic laity get their heads out of their butts, remember that they are the faithful sons and daughters of the Church and not its slaves, and start speaking out, demanding that he and the bishops generally hold fast to the traditional doctrines of the Church and the disciplines that express and implement them. Who else will? Mark Shea?
And this comment: