I will start this post with a confession. I am not the most enthusiastic admirer of Pope Francis. To my simple mind I find some of his pronouncements mildly confusing. When the proclamation was made:
“Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum:
Eminentissimum ac reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum Georgio Marium Sanctæ Romanæ Ecclesiæ Cardinalem Bergoglio
Qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum”
in common with most European Catholics the name meant nothing – I had never heard of this Cardinal from Buenos Aires. In declining the formal Papal attire following this announcement, it was patently obvious that this was going to be a very different Pontificate from that of our beloved Pope Emeritus. Nothing in the following months made much sense to me. Here was a Pope living outside the Papal apartments where pontiffs usually reside, declining all the usual trappings that the Heir to Peter usually enjoys, but, with a great devotion to Our Blessed Lady which was, for me, a positive. His daily homilies from Sanctae Marthae were edifying; the sort of homily one would expect on a Sunday bringing the relevance of the Gospel of the day to bear. The Wednesday General Audiences were uninspiring when compared to the erudite and clear catechesis of Benedict. And then …. Evangelium Gaudium in which raised many questions and gave us some idea that Pope Francis might have a mindset formed during the heady days of Liberation Theology (subsequently discredited by some).
This might seem I have a negative response to the incumbent of the Chair of Peter. Perhaps I have been guilty of this, but over these last weeks my attitudes, and my concerns have changed.
My traditionalist credentials have not changed. I still yearn for the spirituality of the Mass of Ages, the devotions that we lost during the years of V2, and the sense of being ‘Roman’ in all of these. Whilst I expect the Holy Father, as Head of Vatican City and of the Roman Catholic Church to make ecumenical inroads – these are not for me. If I wanted to follow the Protestant or any other path I would have done so in my teenage years when one naturally explores these things.I expect our Pope to act like Christ’s Vicar on Earth. To defend the Faith and teach. My concerns are with my fellow-bloggers. A quick cast around the Internet on what are called ‘traditionalist’ blogs reveal almost a hatred of the Holy Father. I have, as I am sure you have, seen comments wishing him an early demise, questioning his sanity, and branding him a heretic – and these are the more printable.
Whilst some things still trouble me these are probably due to my lack of understanding and prejudice, and are best kept privately and prayed about. Like all loyal sons and daughters of Rome I do not have the power to change the Holy Father, but I do have the power to change my attitudes.
Many of my fellow bloggers read Catholicism Pure and Simple. Many of our followers and commenters are sometimes mildly agape at some of the pronouncements that come from Rome. The Synod has not helped, when it is being felt that we are sleepwalking (or being guided) into the acceptance, as Fr. Hunwicke so beautifully puts it, of ‘different types of sin’. (please read http://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/new-sins.html?m=1).
Pope Francis is Peter. He is Christ’s Vicar on Earth and we are duty bound to pray for him as I am sure he does for us. Whatever our personal feelings are our Church is safe in the hands of Almighty God. The ‘caretakers’ will change,some will be good – some not so good, but the Apostolic Succession is just that. So please – be kind to Pope Francis.