The Franciscan Papacy: Rebuilding or Demolition?

The life of St. Francis is subject to much sentimental hype because of his love for creation and his identification with the poor.  The saccharine images on holy cards and sculptures in gardens don’t help the matter.  And Zeffirelli’s hippie-revolutionary film version of the saint is positively infuriating.  Pope Francis seems be subject to the same kind of misinterpretaion.

The media and the Catholic propagandists on the left and the right will continue to mythologize about St. Francis and Pope Francis’ selection of the name.  The pope himself has said the reason for the choice of name has to do with “peace” and “poverty.”  Oh, those two words: two little threads out of which the propagandists will weave a rope to hang us all with.  Sandro Magister puts it well:

In the pseudo-Franciscan and pauperist mythology that in these days so many are applying to the new pope, imagination runs to a Church that would renounce power, structures, and wealth and make itself purely spiritual.

But it is not for this that the saint of Assisi lived. In the dream of Pope Innocent III painted by Giotto, Francis is not  demolishing the Church, but carrying it on his shoulders. And it is the Church of St. John Lateran, the cathedral of the bishop of Rome, at that time recently restored and decorated lavishly, but made ugly by the sins of its men, who had to be purified. It was a few followers of Francis who fell into spiritualism and heresy. Continue reading

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The Lord is Victorious

And we know that this Council of the media was accessible to all. So, dominant, more efficient, this Council created many calamities, so many problems, so much misery, in reality: seminaries closed, convents closed, the liturgy was trivialized … and the true Council has struggled to materialize, to be realized: the virtual Council was stronger than the real Council. But the real strength of the Council was present and slowly it has emerged and is becoming the real power which is also true reform, true renewal of the Church.

It seems to me that 50 years after the Council, we see how this Virtual Council is breaking down, getting lost and the true Council is emerging with all its spiritual strength. And it is our task, in this Year of Faith, starting from this Year of Faith, to work so that the true Council with the power of the Holy Spirit is realized and Church is really renewed. We hope that the Lord will help us.

I, retired in prayer, will always be with you, and together we will move ahead with the Lord in certainty. The Lord is victorious! Thank you.

Benedict XVI, February 14, 2013

Immediate reaction to the address of the Holy Father to the Roman clergy has been varied. Some have interpreted his comments as a remarkable and a new revelation of his disdain for the conciliar reforms; others as a poor attempt of distinguishing the work of the Council itself from its aftermath.  In fact, he has simply reaffirmed what he has been saying since the beginning of his pontificate, namely, that Council needs to be interpreted according to a hermeneutic of continuity and reform, not one of rupture.

Continue reading