Pope Francis…. and me.

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.



About Gertrude

Sáncte Míchael Archángele, defénde nos in proélio, cóntra nequítiam et insídias diáboli ésto præsídium.
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20 Responses to Pope Francis…. and me.

  1. revivepress says:

    The last thing the Pope is doing is behaving like Christ’s Vicar. That is the fundamental problem….in these circumstances, it is not an act of kindness or of faith to mince words.


  2. Pics says:

    I agree with the above. I am still expecting an act of kindness from him, as well, but all his hatred seems to be for traditional-minded Catholics, while everyone else in the entire universe is accepted and loved, if you read his homilies carefully, not to mention his absolute dismissal of us as “neo-pelagians, etc” in Evangelii Gaudium itself. Gertrude, he is at war with us, either we say something or we do like soldiers in bloody battlefields and pretend we are dead amid the dead bodies until the danger passes. But we can’t pretend anything else.


  3. Gertrude says:

    I know exactly what you mean, and the Holy Father’s reference was to the number of rosaries that were said for him. For anyone reading this the pope said he was “bothered” by this need to count prayers and labeled it “pelagianism.” He went on to comment: “these groups return to practices and disciplines I lived – not you, none of you are old – to things that were lived in that moment, but not now, they aren’t today….”
    It is difficult to find any intimation that Pope Francis is even prepared to tolerate us, but, having said this not to accept his authority is to put us in danger of sin, and sedevacantism. This is not a path I will travel. The devil seeks to destroy and claps his hands when he sees us in conflict with the Successor of Peter.
    No, we do not lie down as dead bodies in the battlefield. We hold on to those truths that are divine, to the faith of our fathers and above all – trust God.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pics says:

    No, Gertrude, I’m not talking about that comment. He REPEATED the reference at Evangelii Gaudium. Please, see n. 94, the reference is clearly to US: “The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others.”

    Where is his “who am I to judge” for those “intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past”? We don’t deserve his mercy and understanding? Aren’t we trying to “find God” as well?

    You are mistaken, we don’t need to be in an either/or mood, either accept him as good and harmless or Sedevacantism. We must deepen our view of history, remember the many bad and horrible popes, dig in and wait. This storm will pass, but we don’t have to pretend it’s not a storm.


  5. Gertrude says:

    I apologise. It was this one: “The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyses and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others.”
    I agree that it appears he dismissing 2,000 years of tradition, and I also agree that we do not need to be in an either/or, but I do feel that nothing is to be gained by the gratuitous insults (which was the point of my post) towards Francis.
    These are dangerous times, and we need to hold firm to our faith. I am old enough to remember how the pre-conciliar Church was – to have grown up and worshiped in it. Our Church has never been so divided as it is now, and we must not feed the divisions.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pics says:

    I understand you, and as a loooooongtime reader of this great blog (first time commentator), you have my deepest sympathies. But when divisions are BROUGHT to us, when it is not our fault (and it is not), then we can and must fight back. Now, not everyone is made of the same matter, and there are different ways to fight back. Traditional monks and nuns are fighting back with prayer and penance, as many more spiritual lay people. Others write. Others petition. And so on and so forth.

    Benedict XVI was the victim of these divisions created, let me emphasize once more, by the other side. This side has felt all-powerful since then. His resignation was valid, it was not a conspiracy, but it was brought about by these divisions created by the other side. They want to steamroll over us. We must fight back, knowing that in the end God will conquer, but we must not feel guilty regarding the divisions that they brought about. We must fight back, each one according to his own gift, even if in silence and prayer.


  7. Gertrude says:

    Thank you Pics. We almost understand each other. (Though I am unsure how I deserve your sympathy)


  8. Pics says:

    …You deserve my sympathy (perhaps empathy would be better) for your effort in how to deal with the current situation.


  9. kathleen says:

    “So please – be kind to Pope Francis.”

    He is not very “kind” to us though – lovers of true traditional Catholicism – is he?
    I believe the vast majority of traditional Catholics are trying very hard to be “kind”, and like you, looking for ways to desperately try to discover authentic orthodox meaning behind his stream of confusing ambiguous utterances and actions.

    Pope Francis is indeed the “Christ’s Vicar on Earth”, so we should certainly pray for him and pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten him to be a worthy Holy Father. Ad hominem attacks should definitely be avoided, although constructive criticism is necessary too, e.g. that levelled towards him at the already mentioned Extraordinary Synod of the Family.

    @ Pics
    Thank you for your excellent comments. I absolutely agree with everything you have said here.


  10. johnhenrycn says:

    Gertrude, thank you for recapping in a calm and balanced way your concerns, which have been voiced by many – sometimes far too stridently – on both sides of the liturgical spectrum. I say ‘both’ because, as you point out, the changes the pope seems keen on making relate not just to liturgy, but to doctrine as well. As for liturgy, you have a lot more experience with the way things used to be than I do, but I sympathize and (pace Mr Picwick above, ha!) empathize with you, and putting myself in your shoes, I share your disappointment.

    Most recall the rumour, reported on BBC and elsewhere at the time of the last conclave that Pope Francis declined to wear the traditional red velvet mozzetta, saying: “Carnival time is over!”. Talk about triumphalism, eh? Now, I prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I take with a grain of salt the gleeful Diocese of London Facebook account of that exchange with his Master of Ceremonies, but if he did say it, was it not a gratuitous slap in the face of his venerable predecessor? Whether or not he said it, Pope Francis has made it perfectly clear on other occasions that he has little time – or respect – for people who cling to old ways, which is a sad state of affairs in my book, which is a Holy book:

    “And He said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’ “

    Mt. 13:52

    But I suppose His Holiness prefers Mt. 9:16-17 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gertrude says:

    Thank you JH. It was a difficult post, that I began to wish I hadn’t started. As I said, I worry too, about the liturgical changes I fear he has planned, and the doctrinal changes of which I am sure he will try to bring forth. The point of my post was as a sort of antidote to the visceral remarks that have appeared. I share ALL the worries of my traditionalist friends, Kathleen is right in that Pope Francis is certainly not even tokenly tolerant of us. I am trying.. very hard … to render unto Francis what is due to Francis. It is very difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. johnhenrycn says:

    Not to worry, Gertrude; your namesake, whose feast day occurs (normally) tomorrow and who is known as the “theologian of the Sacred Heart” tells us “…to always have total trust in Jesus, our Redeemer and Friend…” [citation provided upon request ;)]


  13. johnhenrycn says:

    I should explain to ‘Pics’ (above) that I was not dissing him when I called him “Mr Pic[k]wick”. It’s just that we have never been formally introduced – him being a new commenter – and I was reluctant to call him by his diminutive. One hopes for his continued contributions.


  14. Carmel says:

    Kind yes, but forthright, honest and above all CLEAR in our defence of the doctrinal and moral truths that have been held everywhere by everyone in 2000 years of Catholic history. It is an incontestable fact that since the election of Francis a sense of internal disorientation, unease and confusion has spread within the Church, the like of which was never felt during the previous two pontificates. Why is this Pope being suddenly so praised and applauded by many traditional and inveterate enemies of the cross, while thousands of loyal practising Catholics are sick with unease? I pray daily for Pope Francis, but I simply cannot dismiss or repress the oppressive sense of anxiety that has descended on many of the faithful about some of his words, gestures and ommissions. My only refrain is ‘Jesus I trust in you’, for I know that there lies the only source of true Mercy.


  15. kathleen says:

    “It was a difficult post, that I began to wish I hadn’t started.”

    Gertrude, personally speaking I am very glad you had the courage and honesty to voice your worried feelings like this… and it is obvious, with a look around the web on all traditional Catholic sites (plus the few views of commenters above) that there are a vast number of Catholics who think very much along the same lines. How to deal with the dilemma seems to be more disputed though. In other words, how should loyal Catholics react when under this papacy we see our faithful adherence to Catholic Doctrine, Liturgy, devotions etc. being mocked and denigrated? (And no one can deny that they are – we have almost daily evidence of this fact!)

    “Why is this Pope being suddenly so praised and applauded by many traditional and inveterate enemies of the cross..?”

    Carmel, that is a very, very good point!


  16. Gertrude says:

    I was born during the papacy of Pius Xll (may his Beatification proceed without delay),received warnings of the changes under John XXlll, seen them implemented under Paul Vl, wept over John Paul, through the monumental changes (as it was such a long pontificate) of John Paul ll, and rejoiced at the changes that were coming with Benedict, especially Summorum Pontificum. I do not yearn for the pre-conciliar days particularly; the Church is a very much kinder Church than it was then. However, under Francis we have an enormous change towards Liberation Theology which was frowned upon by Rome in the 80’s because of its focusing on institutionalised or systemic sin, apparently to the exclusion of individual offenders and offences, and Francis appears to be adapting this to the 21st century perhaps with the difference of including (and rightly so, though not in the overall context of the original theology) individuals and institutions.Pope Benedict, then Cardinal Ratzinger accused it of a major flaw in that it attempted to apply Christ’s sermon on the mount teachings about the poor to present social situations. He asserted that Christ’s teaching on the poor meant that we will be judged when we die, with particular attention to how we personally have treated the poor. On this, I stand with Benedict.
    Whilst the shepherd is occupied with a discredited form of Marxism, the sheep are scattering.
    I have no answers, but as Carmel says – Jesus I trust in you.


  17. kathleen says:

    Dear Gertrude,
    In what way was the Church “kinder” before the changes of Vatican II? You say you lived this period, so I was just wondering about this assessment you make.
    Everything I have heard about this era is that the Catholic Church was a mighty strong bulwark for good, growing and thriving in a century that had just seen some of the greatest loss of lives and evils ever known or witnessed before. Prior to VII churches were full to overflowing for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the fullness of Catholic truth was taught in homes and schools, vocations flourished, the liturgical year, devotions, etc. were part and parcel of everyday life for Catholics from the cradle to the grave. What was it about this time that was not “kind”?

    Nowadays we traditional Catholics who truly love the Bride of Christ are considered not to be “kind” because we call a spade a spade, i.e. we talk about sin, the evil things the secular world are flaunting, doing penance, the necessity of the sacrament of Confession, the consequences of unrepentant mortal sin and the reality of Hell “where poor sinners go”!
    I’m sure you didn’t mean that these things were unkind, so I would be interested to know what you were referring to. 🙂


  18. Gertrude says:

    All these things you mention are true. The kindness I refer to concerns for example: in religious life anyone considering a vocation required a dowry. Without this, in some orders, a candidate might be accepted as a lay-sister opposed to a choir sister. Anyone who had been adopted was prohibited from any of the great Orders (Benedictine,Dominican etc) of the Church. In secular life, Divorce was rare but in the event of a Catholic (perhaps in a case of severe cruelty) seeking a Divorce, the priests were not welcoming and many ladies finding themselves in such a position left the Church. We were forbidden to enter non-Catholic places of worship, and I remember folk being quite saddened when dear friends who were not Catholic died and they were forbidden from attending their funerals. Marriage between a Catholic and a non-Catholic were not really looked upon too kindly either, with many men (or women) converting for the sake of the wedding and not going near a Church again!
    As you will gather most of these affected secular life, but the hurts lasted a long time. There was far less pastoral concern and life was pretty much black and white.
    You are absolutely right about an abundance of vocations, but the requirements were – a letter from your parish priest, a doctors certificate stating you were healthy, baptism and confirmation certs. and little else. There was not the opportunity in many cases to spend much time in discernment as there is now.
    These were the ‘kindnesses I refer to, though possibly ‘kinder’ was the wrong word. Perhaps I should have said more’pastoral’.


  19. kathleen says:

    Thank you for your very interesting explanation. I didn’t know any of this, except that I remember hearing that in those days one had to get special permission to enter a Protestant church (such as in the case of attending a wedding, funeral etc.) but not that it was absolutely forbidden.


  20. My disappointments have always been with the bishops. They are the problem. How would you deal with them? The pope will always have my sympathy.


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