Since Pope Francis’ election last week, the reaction in Catholic blogs has been remarkable, schizophrenic even, totally split between two extreme alternatives. The first is total, complete, unquestioning adoration with nothing but good to say about the man. The other is total, complete, unquestioning condemnation of him laden with forebodings of gloom and doom with no possible good coming from his selection. Those taking this view see Francis as a man of dubious intentions, at best.
I have just one thing to say to all this, SNAP OUT OF IT! It’s time for everyone to take a couple of deep breaths and chill.
I mean, can one man, at the same time, be both the savior of the Church a Marxist Leninist partisan out to destroy her? How can that be? I think the truth, while weighing more to the good side, must be somewhere in the middle.
Let’s remember that Francis is a human being. The pope, it’s true, is the spiritual leader of the Church, the heir to Peter’s Chair, and, in certain very limited circumstances, gifted with a certain infallibility concerning matters of faith and morals. Still, he’s a human being, and outside those circumstances, fallible and error prone.
It seems to me the wise thing for everyone is to, as we used to say in Nam, hide and watch. Let’s sit back and allow events to play out. Prayer mightn’t be a bad idea either, whichever side you find yourself on. Before making rash judgments, let’s give the man some time to show what he’s about.
Our Holy Father seems determined to lead by example, to make some much needed changes in the hierarchy, and, in other ways, bring some new life into the Church. He’ll make mistakes along the way, he may not do everything you or I would like to see him do, but I think he’s on the right track. Whatever he does, though, he’ll most likely neither be the salvation of the Church nor the instrument of its destruction. Remember, the fate of the Church, the Body of Christ, isn’t up to him. It’s up to God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
My own take on our new Holy Father? I’m not sure I like the way he has so thoroughly shunned the symbols of papal authority, the mozetta, the gold pectoral cross, etc. He is, after all, the man who occupies the seat of Peter, he isn’t just one of the boys among all the bishops, he’s the Bishop of Rome, Supreme Pontiff. The symbols of the office aren’t about the man, the symbols aren’t meant to honor the person but the office, which has a certain dignity of its own which should be maintained. On the other hand, I think Francis sees the Church in trouble because she has become disconnected from the faithful in ways that need to be addressed. He has rightly chosen to change that by reaching out, making the Church more open and transparent, rather than turning the Church in on itself and pretending the problems will go away, which would be devastating. It’s not an easy task, he’s chosen own way to deal with it and should be given a chance to make it work.
In any case, it would be best for all concerned if everyone just sat down, put their feet up and relaxed, it’s all good. The Spirit guarantees it.