The Bergoglio Imbroglio
Imbroglio: n. a confused heap.
Clearly — tragically — a new polarisation is taking shape. Long ago, we parted ways with the most wilful neo-conservatives: those unconcerned about shiny New Springtime spades being used as Modernist shovels to bury Tradition (cf. "Reasonable Men," Jan. 1999; "Polarising the Pollyannas," Aug-Sept 2000). Since March 2013, however, even neocons who hitherto leant our way are failing to appreciate the gravity of the situation: the humanistic precipice to which Jorge Bergoglio has dragged us in double-quick time.
Typical of those who still don't get it (not least because they don't take Christian Order)is one layman who stated on the blog of a good and robust local cleric: "I am not sure what to make of this Papacy or the Synod"! Before a reinvigorated and rampant 'spirit of Vatican II', this feigned incomprehension reveals the culpable, not to say pusillanimous state of the mainstream orthodox. It was amplified throughout a neocon blogosphere replete with similar muted post-October reactions: "I was dismayed and offended..."; "We certainly welcome all people into the Church and treat all people with dignity...."; "It was painful to see...."; "I am concerned this is giving implicit approval to the gay life-style." (ya think!)
Before gigabytes-worth of other blogs expressing lukewarm 'dismay' and 'concern', may I just say (à la St Paul) — 'Have they all lost their cotton pickin' minds?!'
Truly, had a hidden camcorder filmed the Lord Himself rampaging through the Synod hall, rebuking the hirelings, overturning tables and wiping their documents onto the floor, one can imagine the same ambivalent exchanges: 'Gee! ... good, I s'pose ... a bit OTT perhaps?'; 'Indeed. I understand the annoyance. But there goes dignity and mercy!'; 'Yes. They had it coming, but might not the violent medicine nullify the cure?'; 'True! It's vinegar vs honey'! They might accept the latter, but they sure won't swallow the former!'
Self-satisfied, clueless, saltless ... neocons recall Our Blessed Lord's exasperation with the crowds in Luke 12: 56-57: "You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? Why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?"
Why, in other words, do so many remain in stubborn denial about a Pope who encouraged the WYD crowd at Rio to help him create the "mess" he has subsequently engineered? Why do they take empty papal sound bites at face value rather than put them to the test? "Francis is flinging windows open and energetically engaging the secular world," gushed a respected commentator during the Rio spectacular, not pausing to ask: on whose terms? "He used sporting images to exhort the youth to evangelise," he enthused: failing to point out the overhaul of catechesis and liturgy such evangelisation would fundamentally require.
Above all, why do so many neo-conservatives ignore the warnings of shepherds who can read the signs of the times — like America's Bishop Tobin, who so plainly observes and derides the Bergoglio Imbroglio?
Even hugely problematic ("gay"-Mass promoting) neocons like Cardinal Pell sense the danger. In a timely post-Synod message to Populus Summorum Pontificum pilgrims in Rome, His Eminence reminded them that we have been blessed and spoilt by so many outstanding pontiffs over the past century-and-a-half that we forget "The Church is not built on the rock of Peter’s faith, but on Peter himself, despite his faults and failings. Pope Francis is the 266th pope and history has seen 37 false or antipopes." He added politely that today "we have one of the more unusual popes in history," before damning Francis with faint praise for "doing a marvellous job backing the financial reforms."
Vast numbers of clergy and laity are too busy cheering even to hear the Cardinal, never mind appreciate his concluding papal dig. As for the rest, while disconcerted, they overlook that even the libertine popes of the Borgia Pornocracy never tailored the Faith to their perversions, as did the sodomities last October.
When all is said and done, among many other contributing factors (to include fear and cowardice born of weak faith and human respect), there is a particular prideful reason for such dogged blindness; one perhaps more fundamental than the complacent curse of papolatry.
Essentially it is this: having embraced key elements of the 'moderate Modernist' agenda and compromised on so much papally/episcopally-sponsored degradation for so long, neo-conservatives have not only lost their orthodox bearings, but the humility to admit they got it wrong. They will not concede that they have been "neither cold, nor hot" but vomitously "lukewarm" [Rev. 3:15-16]; that the worst fears of traditionalists, whom they have dismissed and mocked in Francis-like fashion, are now being realised as never before.
I make that observation for what it's worth. But hasten to add that if this social gospel papacy of frightening designs and shocking statements, acts and omissions does not scare the living daylights out of neocons, as it obviously does to several cardinals and bishops, then I suggest they make a New Year's resolution to re-read the Epistle to the Galatians.
"Are you people in Galatia mad?" rails St Paul. "Has someone put a spell on you, in spite of the plain explanation you have had of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ?" (Gal.3:1) Reminding them that what he preached "is not a human message that I was given by men, it is something I learnt only through a revelation of Jesus Christ," St. Paul did not hide his indignation:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel — not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. Am I now seeking the favour of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ. [Gal 1: 6-10]
Neocons should resolve to keep these verses handy throughout the coming year, and read them frequently. Doing so, they will gradually recognise the Galatian in themselves — and get a grip!