Francis vs. Benedict: The New Catholic Culture War

The Catholic culture war continues to heat up.  John Allen from The Boston Globe has recently noted the that there is a possible “right wing” backlash to the Franciscan pontificate that will pit a majority of “Francis Catholics” against “Benedict Catholics.”  I believe he is right, though I would say that the backlash is well underway,

As evidence of this Allen points to the February 12 article of Antonio Socci in the Italian paper Libero, in which he suggests that Benedict’s resignation was very possibly invalid, and that therefore he is still pope.  Socci is not even considered a traditionalist, though he has been critical of Pope Francis on various scores.  Read the article of Allen.

See also Pope Francis’s remarkable outreach to charismatic Protestants and his taking it to the frontiers in the manner of Evangelii GaudiumNot a project without problems, but one involving risks he thinks worth taking.  The initiative and reaction of the Protestants is unprecedented, and indicates a possible important future for the charismatics in the Church.

Then there are several notable supporters of the liturgical “reform of the reform” who now believe—at least one of them, on the basis of what he argues is Pope Benedict’s reasoning—that the Pauline reforms must be abandoned.  Both priests favor the Extraordinary Form, and one may ask, as their thought evolves, just how far they will go.  Do we need to rethink the Missal in light of Sacrosanctum Concilium, or is the problem deeper than that?  In fact, one of the priests, Fr. Thomas Kocik, is pretty blunt entitling his piece “Reforming the Irreformable.”

Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, contributor to New Liturgical Movement and professor of Theology and Philosophy at Wyoming Catholic College, is in full agreement and argues more generally that traditionalists are simply true anti-modernist Catholics who adhere to an objective external standard: namely, “Divine Revelation, communicated to us in Scripture and Tradition and guarded by the perennial Magisterium.”  It is that precise qualifier “perennial” like “eternal” in the SSPX’s appeal to “eternal Rome” that will continue to drive the wedge deeper between the Benedictine and Franciscan pontificates.

The goal posts are moving.  If one does not subscribe to the reactionary agenda, he is now a modernist and a persecutor of the traditionalist.  Allen is onto something.

21 thoughts on “Francis vs. Benedict: The New Catholic Culture War

  1. People I know among self-styled traditionalists who are critical of Francis were just as critical of Benedict and for much the same reasons. Benedict was slandered as a homosexual and even his Bavarian accent was mocked. But Catholics in the pew love whoever is pope. I don’t see any big culture war brewing here because the opposition is just a tiny clique of malcontents who won’t be happy with any pope.

  2. What an absolutely awful heading. I guess people in the Church are destined to make the same mistakes over and over again. Divisions within the Church are nothing new.

    1 Cor. 10
    I urge you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree in what you say, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and in the same purpose.

    I am happy to say that I am neither modernist or traditionalist. I am proud to be Roman Catholic and to love and respect both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict.

    In Christ,

  3. Kirt,
    These ‘small number of malcontents’ are very much an organized group of willfull individuals who have the capability of seducing the ignorant Catholic with every type of media. Not many of us recalls that even the “father of lies’ can quote scripture. (temptation of Jesus in the desert)
    St. Louis de Montfort lived during the time of Jansenism and Calvinism; two great heresies. He fought both with the rosary, and teaching his listeners their catechism. Educating the ignorant Catholic and helping them trust in the maternal intercession of Mary will bring ‘death’ to heretics/schismatics.

  4. I agree with kirt,Marie and Marian;there is only One Roman Catholic Church and Christ promised that He will not leave alone but that He will be with and within until the end of times.This is the same Church of Peter and Of JP II,Benedict and Francis as well as Pius X,Pius XII and all the popes.It’s also the very Mystical Body of Christ Himself.Praise be given to Jesus Christ Our Lord and Saviour.

  5. There is little doubt in my mind that many Traditionalists are ready for a schism. The leaders of this movement do not hesitate to criticize Pope Francis and say he is off the rails. Take a look any any number of traditional blogs and websites. The harsh critcisms and crude terms they apply to Pope Francis can make your blood run cold. And yet they will hold themselves out to be “loyal sons of the Church”, and believe it with all their hearts.

    There is also a schism coming among traditionalists themselves. Michael Voris recently came out and denounced his now former “friends” like John Vennari and Chris Ferrara, calling their publications “ecclesiastical porn.” Voris says that no matter how we may personally feel about the pope, we are not free to publicly criticize him, and therefore Voris now has made it policy that he will not engage in public criticism of the Pope, even though he may privately have many doubts about the Holy Father. Of course, this does not apply to bishops or anyone else in the Church, so Voris will continue on in his crusade against the rest of the apostate Church as he sees it.

    Here is the link:

  6. Fr. Angelo – I am very much looking forward to your posts on this subject. You are a voice of sanity in what has becoming a cacophony of angry and hateful voices. Trads see the Old Mass not as a means to an end – which is our salvation – but as an end in itself, and they have turned this beautiful celebration into a weapon to attack other Catholics. It’s amazing and very sad.

  7. Thank you for this Father Angelo. Kirt is quite correct when he says that Catholics in the pew love (or should love!) whoever is pope. Much as I love the old Mass I abhor the elitism which can sometimes (not always) go with it. I was recently asked whether I had ever attended a Requiem Mass; since the questioner knew I was a cradle Catholic and had recently lost close family I was a bit put out to say the least. The inference was had I ever attended a ‘real’ ie Tridentine Requiem Mass. Give me strength!

    • I also agree with you, Mary Pettifor,especially and specifically with the statement that “Catholics in the pew love(or should love!)whoever is pope”.Let’s not be cafeteria Catholics of the left,the right,the old fashioned,the “truly Catholic”,the ones with “the spirit of Vatican II (and now moving on to Vatican III,etc…. There is only One Faith,One Church,One Creed and One Pope and as Benedict did say;ours is a path of continuity and faithful development,not rupture.Viva Pope Francisco and we love our Church for Christ is behind and within it.

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  13. “….Francis were just as critical of Benedict and for much the same reasons. Benedict was slandered as a homosexual and even his Bavarian accent was mocked.”

    This is such a vicious lie about traditionalists, it is beyond despicable.

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  15. Can’t wait to watch the Canonization Mass later this evening but love this moment captured on short video from CNS when Pope Francis greeted Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. It made me think of the title of this thread. It is not “Francis vs. Benedict” except perhaps in the minds of a small minority. They are true brothers united in Christ.

    What a great day in our Church!

    St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II, pray for us!

    In Christ,

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