Friday, 15 March 2013

God Bless Francis

Update below.

A reader asked why I haven't mentioned Pope Francis, and since some traddy bloggers are gnashing their teeth and tearing their clothes, I thought I had better acknowledge our new Holy Father before y'all feel scandalized. After all, I did mention the Abdication and the woes of Cardinal O'Brien, although I did take down the Cardinal O'Brien posts. In the case of the Cardinal, I wrote too soon.

Cardinal O'Brien made a public confession of sexual behaviour falling under the standards we expect for priests, bishops and cardinals. The damage this has done to the morale of Scotland's Catholic minority is palpable. And my righteous fury against his clerical accusers now looks stupid.

(I still think it was disgusting of them to go to the papers. Had they stuck to proper channels, they would not have caused incredible misery to the Catholic minority of the UK, especially in Scotland, and dealt what may be a death blow to our traditional marriage movement. Enjoy your chat with St. Peter, boys.)

Writing too soon is a major hazard for bloggers, as Rorate Caeli may find out. And it is always a bad idea to write about something you know absolutely nothing about, e.g. how Pope Francis feels about the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, what Cardinal O'Brien did in his spare time.

"Why on earth," I hear the Catholic readers (i.e. the vast majority) cry,  "are you talking about Cardinal O'Brien when we are celebrating the election of a new pope? Habemus papam, Seraphic!" 

To tell you the truth, I know almost nothing about Pope Francis, so I have nothing to say about him, other than that I hope God blesses him and confounds his enemies and that vocations to the priesthood and the religious life continue to rise and that my own little Latin Mass community heals from the shock of the abdication and the very real hurt we feel over the O'Brien scandal. 

It goes without saying that I pray the Reform of the Reform continues. 

I think traditionalists are still hurting from the abdication: we just love Benedict sooooo much. We love him more than George Weigel loved John Paul 2, and that is saying something. And meanwhile it is not actually traditional for every Catholic in the world to scream "Habemus papam!" at every election. For one thing, nobody outside of Rome or the corridors of power thought that much about the pope until the 19th century. For another, worldwide interest in his daily activities does not predate John Paul 2.

You kids are too young to remember this, but the reaction in St. Peter's Square to John Paul 2 was "Chi?" And the reaction in St. Peter's Square this week was "Chi?" The over-the-top jubilation in St. Peter's Square in 2005 was not because habebamus papam, but because Joseph Ratzinger had been elected, and everyone had known him for years. He represented stability and a continuation, maybe even an acceleration, of the good work of John Paul 2 and a correction of his mistakes. Romans knew not just who Benedict was was but what he was likely to do. He was an old friend. To Rome, Francis is almost a stranger.

The media all said John Paul 2 would be a hard act to follow. Well! Now Francis has to follow Benedict XVI. God bless him.

P.S. Oh, and we in Britain are a teensy-weensy little worried about having to go to war against Argentina again. Keep that in mind if the traddy freaking you out with his/her online moaning is British.

Update: And I don't appreciate one blogger's attempt to impugn my loyalty to the Holy See and sling mud at fellow Catholics by willfully misunderstanding what I said here. This is a blog for Single Catholic women and other Single Woman of Good Will, and the other Single Women of  Good Will are not all that interested in popes. It is not a blog about Church personalities or my faith life. The fact that I prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is beside the point.

Pope Francis himself has pointed out to the media of the world (that includes me) that it is Christ, not the Pope, who should be the focus of our attention.

I wrote about my own (now ex-) archbishop out of feelings of loyalty and anguish, to do something to save his reputation, which was being dragged through the mud before the world, and I wrote about the Abdication because I thought some readers might be shocked and hurting and need words of comfort (which is what my blog is about: words of comfort). A papal election, however, is usually a happy time (if fraught with misinformation and highly subjective first impressions), so I didn't think anyone needed to hear from me until I got an e-mail from a worried reader.

My blog is very much about being rooted in reality and using your head.  I believe it was Thomas Aquinas who said you cannot love someone whom you do not know. I did not love Benedict XVI until I learned more about him, and only conceived genuine feelings of deep affection for him when I saw him in person in Glasgow. And I imagine I may grow to love Francis when I learn more about him, too, and perhaps see him in person. For the time being, I feel only loyalty to Francis because he is the bishop of Rome, and I am a Roman Catholic. I still don't know much about him; I have been extremely busy this week.

Meanwhile I am still really very badly hurt by the O'Brien scandal. We parvuli thought we knew our cardinal, and we really loved him. Really, for the past few weeks, the last people I wanted to think about were cardinals.

And now I have wasted a lot of time I could have spent on paid writing or helping people.