Not actually plants at all, since they don’t photosynthesize like green vascular plants, but take their nourishment straight out of the medium they grow in, and in doing so, help to break down that medium. A fungus growing on a dead log or tree stump is doing some very important nature-work in helping to break down deadwood into soil.
This is done through a vast network of almost invisible tendrils called “mycelium,” that live under the surface and pervade every inch of the soil beneath your feet. The huge majority of fungal life is mycelium that you mostly can’t see, unless you’re turning over last year’s leaf pile in the spring.
From these tendrils of mycelium sprout the fruiting bodies that we know and love as mushrooms. But they start their life as spores…
…that shoot out in ways that sometimes defy imagination.
Nature’s pretty cool huh? But I guess you’re wondering why I’m going on about mushrooms on the Remnant’s blog.
The other day someone made a comment about Pope Francis, (you knew we were going there, right?)
“I recently read about a disastrous Pope who made many bad decisions, the Pope who succeeded him immediately upon his election nullified all the previous Pope’s decisions. I hope this happens again.”
…and the first thing that popped into my head was, “Nope. It won’t work, because of the mycelium.”
The trouble with this idea is that Francis isn’t an anomaly; he’s a predictable result of the Neomodernism that has infested the Church since the close of Vatican II. The commenter’s idea is that he is an isolated and inexplicable outlier, something like a tick that has just dropped onto the Church at random and who can be burned off once discovered by saner heads. If that were the case, if there were any saner heads available, he wouldn’t have been elected pope in the first place.
Pope Francis is not the problem. Neomodernism is the problem. Pope Francis is more like the fruiting body of the cordyceps mycelium that has infested every last corner of the Catholic Church’s ecosystem. In the natural world, in the forest floor the mycelium are pervasive, but because of all the other processes at work in the soil, the various chemical processes, bacteria, insects, temperature, etc., it isn’t possible for them to utterly take over the whole ecosystem of the forest and kill and eat every other growing thing in it. Unfortunately, the Church’s theological ecosystem doesn’t work the same way, though I think this is more or less how most “conservative” Catholics think it does.
In the analogy that, I swear, just popped unbidden suddenly into my weird brain – probably because of too many nature shows as a kid – Pope Francis is the cordyceps fruiting body that is sprouting out of the infested body of the host of the papacy. The spores of Neomodernism have been bursting out of him since his first moment on the loggia. (Remember that bow? Remember how all secularist media ate up that absurd, unCatholic, populist gesture and launched the Humble Francis Show even before he’d blessed the crowd?)
But I repeat that Francis himself isn’t the problem, and if it hadn’t been him – if he’d not made it to the Conclave or had died during Pope Benedict’s reign – they’d simply have gone to the next one on the list. In fact, I’ve been maintaining among friends that the Faith, the real Catholic religion that has barely subsisted while being systematically suppressed throughout the world for the last 50 years, would not have survived another long “conservative” pontificate. As painful as it is, Francis is really just what we need.
The last two popes, bless ‘em, created what I have come to call the “conservative Catholic middle ground,” a safe space where nice, friendly, inoffensive and politicized Catholics can live in peace with the world. By asserting that Vatican II could be embraced by the Church while retaining all the deposit of the Faith intact, the Catholic conservatism tried to square the theological circle. This was an error, but it was a comforting one that a lot of people embraced, implying that we didn’t really have much to worry about, and didn’t really have to do very much. Just keep soldiering on and being reasonable and accommodating, and all this “liberalism” in the Church would just die out like bellbottoms and lovebeads.
But the reality is now, finally, being revealed to have been much, much worse, as Traditionalists have been trying to tell the rest of the Church for fifty years. After the Council, whatever happened in the meetings, the strength the Church had to fight off the Neomodernist mycelium appeared to die, and in the intervening decades, since the problem was not rooted out completely, the deadly theological cordyceps has finally taken over everything.
The determined maintenance of the “nothing to see here” lie by the hierarchy, has come at this stage to consume nearly all the Church’s resources. To the point where our “conservative pro-life” hero bishops like Archbishop Charles Chaput have begun lashing out at anyone who points to the absurdity of inviting the pope to a World Meeting of Families that deliberately includes pro-aborts and sodomite lobbyists.
This is the result of warm, friendly, easygoing “conservatism,” in the papacy, which in reality is a slow, one-way ratchet that can finally end only in apostasy. Can you imagine what another 20 or 30 years of a John Paul II-style pontificate of slow, incremental, invisible infiltration of Neo-Modernist ideology would have done to us? Would there be any Faith in Our Lord left on earth on the Last Day?
Well, that deadly, compromised position is disappearing as fast as an ice floe under a polar bear in a Greenpeace propaganda meme, and more and more people are realising it. And it is thanks to Francis, who is making it rapidly impossible to take that conservative middle ground.
What is going to be left when he’s done? Our mycelium analogy is useful again. What would happen to a forest that got totally eaten and replaced by fungi? There would be no trees, shrubs or flowers, or any other kind of life. There would only be fungi, which would then die for lack of anything left to eat.
But what is the Neomodernism mycelium consuming? Not the Church, which cannot be touched by it. No, it’s eating the last of the Novusordoist “great façade” that came into existence and grew after Vatican II. It’s eating itself.
And more and more people are figuring it out. Our good friend the editor of this publication has many times said that since the start of Francis’s rampage, the Remnant’s readership has burgeoned. I have heard the same thing from many others who are publishing critical pieces on the pope in other venues. We know that the incredible outrages of this pontificate, not only those of Francis himself, but from his friends and chosen subordinates, are separating the Faithful from the nominal Catholics. People are at last being forced to choose a side by the most “divisive” pope in Catholic history.
In venues as far away as the neoconservative bastion of Crisis Magazine, the meek and mild English convert William Oddie wrote the other day that Francis “doesn’t do doctrine,” and came to the rather lame conclusion that if nothing else, at least he’s not going to last forever. As Dr. Oddie pointed out, even the pope’s own official spokesman, the unflappable Fr. Federico Lombardi, has said that he’s about had it with the nonsense and doesn’t have the first notion what’s going on.
We might be at the point in the Church where the only way to save the body is to amputate huge and formerly useful parts of it. Or maybe, simply, those dead branches will fall off by themselves. Certainly the increasingly hostile secular world and aggressive Islam will have a role to play.
But whatever is coming next from the outside world, Francis is doing the Church a service that perhaps no one else could; he is demonstrating that the Vatican II, Novusordoist experiment has been, to put it as mildly as possible, a complete, utter and catastrophic failure because it has produced churchmen like him. This pope, the naked, unabashed, unapologetic Neomodernist, is stamping all over the tired, half-deflated balloon of “reform of the reform,” that desperate last ditch effort by Pope Benedict and his well-meaning followers to save the hopeless contradictions of Catholic neoconservatism.
What will be left when he is done? Soon, (I predict by the end of October) there will be only two choices. It is rapidly becoming clear that there will be the Church and the antiChurch, as we were told by the Lord Jesus Christ there would be at the end.
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