Friday 24 January 2014

Why I hate the Pope Francis Effect

How uplifting to have a Pope who cares.
How refreshing to have a Pope who is compassionate.
How uplifting to have a Pope who prays.
How uplifting to have a Pope who decries poverty.
How uplifting to have a Pope who knows what it is to live among ordinary people.
How uplifting to have a Pope who engages with the world.

Pope Francis does all this


so have all the the Popes of recent years.  You will not find it difficult to find quotes and practical examples of all the popes of the last 100 years doing all these things and of people in many parts of the world finding in any of those popes a true father, an inspiration and a shepherd who engendered love among the faithful.

The reason for the liberal establishment (within and without the Church) bigging up of these qualities exhibited by Pope Francis is to use them to imply a silent and odious comparison with the previous Holy Father, Pope Benedict - who, by implication was none of the above.  That, of course is nothing but a vile lie.

I don't know what the Pope Francis effect is in Italy but I have not heard of any real improvement in Mass attendance here in the UK.  The idea that Pope Francis says, "Who am I to judge?" about what amounts to laxity and sin is arrant nonsense. That answer he gave to a particular question had the caveat that "the was person is of good will and is in search of God." (See Fr Z for an in depth analysis.)  To deliberately ignore the Church's teaching, to dismiss it, to seek to undermine it - on sexuality or Mass attendance, on liturgy or family life, on any subject - is not to be of good will, is not to be truly seeking God, is not be be a a "son of the Church".

So, yes, I hate the Pope Francis effect - not for any real effect he might have in engaging the world with he truth of the Faith, not for any person moved by his words or example to come closer to the Lord but because it is being used as a stick by those who hated Pope Benedict's liturgical reforms to attack the person of the previous Pope. 

Surely Popes like this couldn't have cared about social justice?

Strange to think that a Pope could care about social justice while still celebrating the "old" mass and being carried about on a sedia gestatoria! Yet Popes such as Leo XIII in 1891 (Rerum Novarum) and Pope Pius XI in 1931 (Quadragesimo Anno) issued ground-breaking encyclicals about social justice.

Surely Popes who wore red shoes and dressed like this were never interested in calling sinners back or being a father to the sons and daughters of the Church?

NEWSFLASH - You can dress as priests have for centuries and say the Traditional Mass and want to uphold the teaching of the Church AND YET still be compassionate, still care, still decry poverty, still pray devoutly and still inspire Christians and others to follow Christ more faithfully.

But who am I to judge?


Anonymous said...

Good post, Father. And your point about Mass attendance certainly seems valid - in fact I have noticed a significant fall since Easter, so what a shame it seems that it may not be evidence-based for some time, as the pastoral stats from the last census may not be published.

BTW - Whenever I hear of the 'Francis effect', for some reason I often think of major catatonic depression, ulcers, (peptic and duodenal), and shingles etc - and somehow all at the same time. Waiting for the medical powers that be to term this cluster 'Francis Syndrome', or Bergoglioitis etc. LoL! Don't you just love Papa Francesco B.!

Seaneinn said...

Great post Father

Patricius said...

If one were to believe to figures for papal audiences one could easily assert that Pope Francis is undoubtedly more popular than Pope Benedict...who in his turn was more popular than Pope John Paul II! On the other hand it may be simply a reflection of decreasing travel costs.

Anonymous said...

Pathetic fellows of this marginal group of offerimus tibi domine!

You miss the point...may you guys find solace under those fancy paraphernalia.

Православный физик said...

Good post Father, indeed...

David O'Neill said...

Glad I don't comment as 'ANONYMOUS'!!

Why not have the courage of your convictions (?) sir/madam?

I totally agree with you Fr Simon. In my opinion the man makes the role (including dressing properly) rather the role making the man.

All of our recent pontiffs have brought something different but I'm not sure about Pope Francis yet

Sean said...

You realize there are non-Christians, and non-Catholics who come across this kind of stuff. "Hate" is a strong word, please be careful not to promote scandal and division.

Anthony Dickinson said...


We are abviously so marginal they we are worth looking at!

Celia said...

I'm afraid 'hate' is not too strong a word to describe the attitude of many liberal Catholics towards Pope Benedict. I have fair experience of this in my own parish, where initial reactions to the abdication announcement were of the 'good riddance to the old bigot' type and where I have, literally, been jeered and shouted down for suggesting that John Paul II and Benedict saved the Church from grave errors in the 1980s and 1990s.

They hope, of course, that Francis will reverse those gains and unfortunately his, shall we say, opaque way of expressing himself enables them to continue to do this, 10 months into his papacy.

Anonymous said...

Time to rise above such frivolous and odious comparisons. Listen to St Paul to the Corinthians in this Sunday's reading. Pope Francis and his predecessors in living memory all reveal different aspects of the face of Christ.

Genty said...

One or two posters appear to be confusing "effect" with "Pope". What I think Father hates, as do I, are all the dissenting voices rising in pitch to claim that it's all change in the Catholic Church as an excuse to push their own agendas which, in many cases, are as Catholic as Luther's elbow and in so doing denigrating a previous Pontiff. It's all there in black and white for those who have eyes to read.
I can also state quite happily that I hate the "effect" of Vatican II. It does not mean I hate Vatican II itself but the effect which calls itself the "spirit" of Vatican II going hand in hand with self-permission to commit all kinds of liturgical abuse, never mandated or intended by Vatican II, and during which time there has been a catastrophic decline, not only in Mass attendance but in the Church in the West through lukewarm, or non-existent, catechesis. If anyone is looking for scandal, that's it.
And nothing at all to do with fancy anything, my dear Anonymous. That was some peculiar, and totally illogical post, I have to say.

Jacobi said...

If by the “Francis Effect” is meant that interpretation, encouraged by the secularist press as well as by liberal/Modernist “Catholics”, that Pope Francis is about to change established Catholic doctrine on some sins, particularly those deriving from Lust, such as physical sex outside of a valid marriage between a man and a woman, then we are right to have reservations.

This “Effect” whether held by Secularists or “Catholics”, is a profound misunderstanding. The role of the Vicar of Christ, the Holder of the Keys, is to preserve and to Continue Church Teaching.

Pope Francis will not, and cannot, change Catholic doctrine on what is right and wrong, what is to be preserved and what is Sinful.

And, Sean, if any non- Catholics do read these posts, that is the message they should understand.