I have been forced to change my mind and admit that the earliest critics of the former Cardinal Bergoglio, who knew far more about the man and his ideas than I did, were right from the beginning. Socci, too, has gone from supporting this pontificate to lamenting its alarming trajectory toward what would appear to be the completion of the post-Vatican II autodemolition of the Church (to the extent this is humanly possible and permitted by God).
In a few short months Socci has, in fact, become one of the harshest critics of the Bergoglian agenda, and rightly so. It appears that the last straw for him was the Pope’s outrageous rehabilitation of the Marxist priest Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, suspended by John Paul but restored to the exercise of the priesthood by Francis, even though d’Escoto had only days before thumbed his nose at Rome and hailed Fidel Castro as a gift of the Holy Ghost to the Cuban people (belying the Vatican’s flimsy cover story that he had repented of his errors).
As Socci writes with undisguised contempt: “In the Bergoglian epoch, the Vatican has practically rehabilitated Liberation Theology, born in the Sixties, which has caused many disasters, above all in Latin America, by having fomented the subjugation of the Church by Marxist thought.” As Socci notes with disgust, d’Escoto declared that Castro was the means by which “the Holy Spirit transmitted to us the message, this message of Christ, on the necessity of struggling to establish… the reign of God on earth…” Socci continues: “After this theological exaltation of the tyrant of Cuba, who for decades oppressed an entire people with a communist dictatorship, d’Escoto was gladdened by the revocation of his suspension by Pope Francis.”
The contrast with the brutal treatment Francis has meted out to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate sickens Socci, as it should any Catholic with a sense of justice:
The velvet glove used by Francis with the famous and powerful “comrade” d’Escoto contrasts with the iron fist he used to strike a good and humble religious of holy life, Father Stefano Manelli, spiritual son of Padre Pio and founder of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. Father Manelli had even written to the Pope, but his letter was not even taken into consideration.
His religious family, orthodox, disciplined, and full of vocations, was annihilated by the will of Bergoglio, inasmuch as it applied the motu proprio of Benedict XVI on the liturgy. And he was too orthodox.
Father Manelli has never disobeyed the Church, has never deviated from right doctrine, has never thrown himself into politics like d’Escoto, and has never exalted communist tyrants. So, he was harshly punished.
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Socci’s conclusion is chilling, coming as it does from one who strongly supported Francis but has seen the immense damage this pontificate has already caused, and is likely to cause, to the Church’s mission at a time of unprecedented moral and spiritual decline:
Today, in the Bergoglian epoch, there is a return precisely to Rahner, and to that philosophy which has already caused such damage among the Jesuits and in the Church. And in this empty abyss Catholics are tossed and turned “by every wind of doctrine.” Subjugated by any ideology and corrupted by any heresy. A great darkness surrounds Rome.
Socci shows us that more and more Catholics of good will are coming to the realization that the crisis in the Church has reached a new, and perhaps its final, stage. To remain willfully blind to what is happening is not to “trust the Church” but rather to ignore an alarm that is calling every Catholic to do what our confirmation oath requires: defend the faith of our fathers against an all-encompassing “para-conciliar ideology ” that is threatening the Church like no mere heresy ever has.