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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

On Pope Francis: A Necessary Addendum

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On Pope Francis: A Necessary Addendum

I have asked Michael Matt to post this addendum to my View From Rocco’s “at the Front” due to the large number of negative emails I have received from people regarding what I said therein. Clearly, I did not get my message across. It seemed necessary, therefore, to add the following points as a footnote to my earlier report:

1)     My statements regarding “awakening the pope” did not mean awakening him to the manipulations of the cabal responsible for the Synod. As I thought I had indicated, he is a willing and eager part of that cabal. Whether he or Kasper was its first creator I do not know. That he was happy with the horrible program his cabal proposed and promoted at the Synod is obvious.


 2)     My statements regarding “awakening the pope” did mean awakening him from his lack of all coherent philosophical or theological vision; awakening him to the fact that he values his strange will as Francis over his role as Peter and guardian of the full Deposit of the Faith. He is too incoherent to be classified as a deep Modernist thinker. His real danger comes from his personal willfulness.

3)     My statements regarding the need for deep devotion to the Papacy while still criticizing the current willful pontificate were based upon recognition of the demands of the Faith and historical reality. We must not say or do anything in response to a truly unfortunate pope (Cardinal Pell called him “unusual”) that will cause harm to the Papacy as such in the future. On the other hand, we must never accept the absurd conservative Catholic argument that criticizing an often very erroneous Pope is wrong. Vatican One defined papal infallibility within very limited boundaries. There have been many bad popes in history, and many good people who have openly and justly fought against their words and actions. Without the work of such critics, openly opposing papal madness in the past, there would have been none of the glories of the Gregorian Reform leading to the High Middle Ages, and no massive change in papal mentality giving us the Catholic Reformation of the 1500’s.

4)     What else can we do while strongly criticizing the current pope than use all the tools available to us to “awaken” him? Do we see any cardinals calling him an antipope and demonstrating willingness to overthrow him? Do we have a Holy Roman Emperor ready to intervene to do so? Can we call our own Conclave in Avignon and elect another pontiff? What else can we do but what we already are doing?---namely, vigorously pointing out the pope’s errors and blunders, trying to maneuver around them in our daily actions, rejoicing in the “rethinking” of the whole post-conciliar situation on the part of significant prelates manifested at the recent Synod, and praying that the Holy Spirit reveals to the pope his true role as Peter, the Rock-Man who defends Catholic doctrine, and the need to treasure such a mission above that of being an all too Zeitgeist-friendly and politically correct Francis. More Peter and less Francis should be our motto. Is it wrong to ask Traditionalist Catholics to pray for a man whose ideas and policies we all dislike…especially when that man is the pope? Again, what else can we do?

John Rao | Remnant Columnist, New York

John C. Rao, Ph.D. is an associate professor of history at St. John's University, director of the Roman Forum/Dietrich von Hildebrand Institute, and former president of Una Voce America.  In 1977 he received his D.Phil. in Modern European History from Oxford University. Notable works include Americanism and the Collapse of the Church in the United States, Removing the Blindfold, and Periphery. His latest book, Black Legends: The War of the Words Against the Word, a guide to the history of the Catholic Church, was published by The Remnant Press in 2012. A student of Dietrich von Hildebrand and a close friend and collaborator of Michael Davies, John Rao has been a frequent contributor to The Remnant since the early 1980s.  He is known for writing his Remnant columns from Rocco's Cafe, an Italian pastry shop in Greenwich Village Manhattan.