In just the past ten days—
- The media, including neo-Catholic websites, have reported that in June, Francis told a representative of the World Evangelical Alliance: “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. I want people to find Jesus in their own community. There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s not spend our time on those. Rather, let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.” Further, the Pope revealed that he had befriended a Pentecostal minister in Rome and that “this July I will preach in his church on a Sunday and offer an apology from my church for the hurt it has brought to their congregation.” Neither Pope Francis nor the Vatican has denied the accuracy of the report.
- In an incredible third interview with the militant atheist Eugenio Scalfari, published once again in the radically Leftist La Repubblica, Francis is reported to have told Scalfari that two percent of the Catholic priesthood are pedophiles, that priestly celibacy was not instituted until“900 years after Our Lord’s death,” and that “[t]here were solutions to the ‘problem’ of celibacy, ‘and I will find them.’” There was no denial from Francis, but only a contorted attempt at a disclaimer by Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi—his umpteenth over the past sixteen months. The quoted remarks, Lombardi ludicrously suggested, “cannot be confidently attributed to the Pope.” Really? Well, what did the Pope himself have to say about the matter? Lombardi’s silence told us all we needed to know.
- Francis suddenly announced at Isernia (on July 5) that he was launching a Jubilee Year in honor of Pope Celestine, of all people, a Pope whose pontificate was a disaster that provoked his resignation and return to the life of the hermit, Peter of Marrone, canonized under his original name. Francis referred to “this Celestine jubilee year, which from this moment I declare open, and during which there will be opened wide to all the door of divine mercy”—as if the door of divine mercy had been shut before Francis. The impression of superbia was inescapable.
The neo-Catholic excuse factory is grinding to a halt in the face of the sheer quantity of this Pope’s stupefying words and deeds. Even a “normalist” as mainstream as William Oddie of The Catholic Herald is now filled with apprehension. As he wrote on July 11:
Now, we have a Pope who can be adored by such enemies of the Catholic Church as the arch abortion supporter Jane Fonda, who tweeted last week [sic]: “Gotta love new Pope. He cares about poor, hates dogma.”
In other words, for Fonda and her like, the Church is no longer a dogmatic entity, no longer a threat. That’s what the world now supposes: everything is in a state of flux. The remarried will soon, they think, be told they can receive Holy Communion as unthinkingly as everyone else: that’s what Cardinal Kasper implied at the consistory in February….
We shall see what we shall see at the Synod, which I increasingly dread. Once that is out of the way, we will be able to assess where we all stand. But whatever happens now, it seems, the glad confident morning of Benedict’s pontificate has gone, never again to return; and I (and it seems many others) have less we feel we can say.
Faced with the grim reality of this out-of-control pontificate, Oddie suggested (quoting the Catholic blogger Father Ray Blake) that while “[m]ost Catholics but especially clergy want to be loyal to the Pope in order to maintain the unity of the Church, today that loyalty is perhaps best expressed through silence.” In other words, Oddie counsels a retreat into the air raid shelter as the Pope’s bombs continue to drop; we must ignore the Pope for the sake of Church unity.
For the neo-Catholics, it has come this. For traditionalists, however, silence is not an option. With Saint Augustine we say: “It is better that the truth be known than that scandal be covered up.” All the more so when the scandal is impossible to hide, and the world exults over its ever-growing dimensions.