The attitude of the Pope to American Catholics is best exemplified in the saying that the beatings will continue until morale approves. Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture explains how well this policy is working:
“The pastoral thrust of this pontificate must reach the American people,” Archbishop Christoph Pierre said today in his address to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Believe me, the impact of this pontificate has reached the American people—but not in the way the apostolic nuncio has in mind.
When the US bishops met in Baltimore one year ago, the American people were clamoring for effective action on the sex-abuse scandal, which had erupted anew last summer with revelations that Pope Francis had known of, and done nothing about, the criminal history of Theodore McCarrick. The USCCB membership was poised to hold bishops accountable for that sort of negligence, and to demand a Vatican investigation into the charges made by a former nuncio, Archbishop Vigano. Then at the eleventh hour the Vatican intervened, asking the American bishops to postpone those items, and promising a thorough explanation of the McCarrick affair.
Now, a year later, American Catholics are still waiting for that explanation, still waiting for bishops to be held consistently accountable—and now also waiting for an investigation into the financial scandals that have re-emerged this summer, bearing new evidence that this pontificate has failed utterly to produce reforms.
But more than that. American Catholics have been shaken by the massive confusion generated during this pontificate: by the reports of shocking papal statements, the questions about fundamental doctrinal teachings, and most recently the furor over pagan symbols at the Amazon Synod. The American faithful have more and more questions; the Vatican has been providing fewer and fewer answers—in fact provoking still more questions.
Yes, we have felt the thrust of this pontificate. But to illustrate the confusion here, let me quote that full sentence from the speech by the Pope’s representative:
The pastoral thrust of this pontificate must reach the American people, especially as families continue to demand of dioceses and parishes the accompaniment envisioned by Amoris Laetitia.
Here, I’m afraid, Archbishop Pierre’s perception departs from reality. American Catholics are making many demands of their bishops these days, but they are not shouting for implementation of Amoris Laetitia. In fact, when that controversial papal document first appeared, it was generally acknowledged that it would not have a particularly strong impact here in the US, where annulments are already granted so routinely that very few Catholics need worry about the ban on Communion for those who are divorced and remarried. But Archbishop Pierre is promoting the myth that surrounds and sustains Pope Francis: the myth that he has introduced an era of reform and a regime of merciful pastoral care.
Go here to read the rest. It is hard dealing with a Pope who apparently inhabits a frame of reality different from the one the rest of us inhabit.