PopeWatch: Obvious

Phil Lawler, who has a book out about Pope Francis next month, has a telling anecdote that he relates at Catholic Culture:



How popular is Pope Francis? With the public? With bishops and priests? With young seminarians? Ask different people, and you’ll get different answers. It’s hard to gain an accurate reading.

But here’s a remarkably revealing clue, nearly hidden in a feel-good story about an American seminarian, Nick Sentovich, who is a 3rd-year student at the North American College in Rome, “and like all third-year seminarians, he was given the opportunity to assist during the papal Mass on Christmas Eve.”

Usually, a lottery decides who will serve during the Christmas Eve Mass, but there weren’t enough students who expressed interest this year, Sentovich said, so everyone who applied was accepted.

Emphasis added, obviously. But that’s not the only thing that should be obvious.


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  1. “How popular is Pope Francis? With the public? With bishops and priests? With young seminarians?”

    Christ didn’t give a hoot how popular He was. One moment the crowd waves palm branches at Him, shouting accolades. A week later they cry in the courtyard of Pontius Pilate, “Crucifige eum! Crucifige eum!”

    Popularity is such a fickle thing. That said, it is very telling that in the past so many seminarians wanted to assist at Christmas Eve Masses for Pope JP II and Pope B XVI, but now so few want to assist for Pope F I. As for me, I pay this Argentinian Marxist Peronist heretic as little attention as possible, and pray for his removal from the Seat of St. Peter. I have a duly ordained priest and a validly consecrated bishop.

    I leave the reader to his thoughts.

  2. Don,

    You may not be aware of this, but you have to be a paid donor to comment on Catholic Culture dot org.

  3. To attend a Papal audience, one must first obtain a (free) ticket from
    the Prefecture of the Papal Household. Since tickets are issued, it
    is a simple matter to track attendance at the Wednesday general
    audiences. Long story short, this Pope’s attendance figures are
    considerably lower than those for both St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

    Special events, especially the 2015 Year of Mercy and the canonizations
    of St. John Paul II, John XXIII and Mother Teresa boosted Francis’
    attendance figures, but overall it would appear that faithful Catholics
    are, in the words of the great philosopher Yogi Berra, “staying away
    in droves”.

  4. Phil Lawler, that most careful conservative commentator, has had an Epiphany about Pope Francis finding him wanting in many respects. Why has it taken him so long? Hopefully, his new book will open a few more sleepy eyes.

    On the un-voluntary seminarians. This is a cause for celebration assuming that low numbers of total seminarians are not the reason for few volunteers at the papal Mass. Good seminarians should flee the presence of Pope Francis like they would flee the devil and for the same reasons.

  5. Pope Francis is popular with the group that America’s religious structure has been chasing after madly for at least several decades– the folks who aren’t that interested in religion, and don’t especially like Catholic theology.

    That’s not an inherently bad thing, except…their attention is gotten, and there’s nowhere to go with it. They like it because they can make it fit with what they already think, and not change, and it’s a handy thing for hitting folks with whom they disagree.

  6. This is VERY telling. I know many seminarians, and they, like most orthodox people, are sick and tired of Frank. They see through his rhetoric and false humility. They wait in joyful hope for the coming of a new and Catholic Pope.

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