Is he joking? Francis has steadfastly refused to answer nearly everyone who has fairly criticized him and then positively begged him for a response.
In fact, his trademark refusal to respond to criticism has caused some to argue that Francis' behavior in the face of criticism fits the classic definition of a narcissist, in that he seems incapable of allowing for even the possibility that he might not always be right.
This would explain what appears to many to be a singular lack of empathy for others. Even 90-year-old cardinals who ask questions of this pope are not, as far as he's concerned, entitled to the courtesy of a reply, much less an audience.
Let's separate fact from papal fantasy:
- A year ago, Francis famously told reporters that he "would not say one single word" about Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò's serious criticism regarding the McCarrick scandal.
- Two of the four so-called 'dubia Cardinals' have actually died waiting for Francis to answer their request for clarification of Amoris Laetitia...
- Three years in, and Cardinals Burke and Brandmüller are still waiting for Francis to answer their most constructive criticism.
- After 2 years, the 25-page Filial Correction signed by 40 Catholic clergy and lay scholars and delivered to Pope Francis is still being ignored by the Holy Father--a letter, by the way, which was signed by influential Catholics in good standing who hail from 20 different countries.
- During the run-up the Clerical Sexual Abuse Summit in Rome, the Coalition of Concerned Catholic Media issued on Open Letter to Pope Francis, asking him to clarify his position on homosexual acts. True to form, Francis ignored that one, too.
Need I go on? And now once again, according to Pentin's report, the Pope is accusing those who criticize him of trying to start a schism:
Vatican II created these things, maybe the best known break is that of Lefebvre. There is always schismatic action in the Church, always, no? It is one of the actions that the Lord always leaves to human freedom. I don’t fear schisms, I pray they don’t exist because there’s the spiritual health of many people [to consider], right? [I pray] there will be dialogue, that there will be correction if there is some mistake, but the path of schism is not Christian.
Can this poor, befuddled man possibly be serious?
Perhaps it's time for an ecclesiastical intervention, as Francis obviously needs help.