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 Gaudium. Not 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.