A digest of rumblings from today’s interweb sources:
For more than three decades, the Vatican of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI operated on a version of the conservative maxim, “No enemies to the right.”
While left-wing theologians were silenced and liberal-to-moderate bishops were shunted aside in favor of hard-liners, and liturgical traditionalists and cultural conservatives were diligently courted and given direct access to the apostolic palace.
But in a few short months, Pope Francis has upended that dynamic, alienating many on the Catholic right by refusing to play favorites and ignoring their preferred agenda items even as he stressed the kind of social justice issues that are near and dear to progressives.
“I’ve personally found many aspects of this papacy to be annoying, and struggled against that feeling from the beginning. I’m hardly alone in this,” Jeffrey Tucker, editor of the New Liturgical Movement blog, wrote as Francis basked in the glow of media coverage of his recent trip to Brazil.
“Every day and in every way we are being told how glorious it is that the bad old days are gone and the new good days are here,” he wrote.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia is renowned for speaking plainly, which in part means he’s often willing to say things out loud that others in his position may sense but are hesitant to acknowledge.
. . . . Chaput acknowledged that members of the right wing of the Catholic church “generally have not been really happy” with some aspects of Francis’ early months and said the pope will have to find a way “to care for them, too.”
That is one of the reasons why the kingdom of the Pope’s master could not possibly be of this world. And the absence of the tragic sense in the Pope’s remarks allowed him to wallow in a pleasing warm bath of sentiment without distraction by complex and unpleasant realities. Perhaps this will earn him applause in the short run; but in the long run he does not serve his flock by such over-simplifications.
It is one thing when conservatives tie themselves in knots, arguing that Pope Francis is only echoing things said earlier by Pope Benedict or Pope John Paul II, even though those same conservatives tended to overlook those same things when Benedict and John Paul Ii said them. And, it has been fun watching prelates squirm as they try to qualify the what the pope said and did not say. Now, the gloves are coming off.